Friday, October 31, 2008

The Politics of Jesus

Lee Camp (Associate Professor of Ethics at Lipscomb University, author of Mere Discipleship, and a good friend) hosts a theological variety show, what could be considered a "Christian version of Prairie Home Companion," called Tokens, although to describe it like that sell both Tokens and PHC short. It combines story telling, music, interviews, and skits, to talk about some of the pressing issues of the day.

At the last Tokens Show (which I wasn't able to attend, but you can listen to clips on the Tokens site), Lee opened with this:
Dirk Willems was arrested in the latter part of the 16th century. When he was jailed, Christianity had been in cahoots with the prevailing political powers for about 1200 years. But it had not always been that way. Christianity had once been illegal, and Christians had been persecuted on and off for the first three centuries of Christian history. But by the end of the fourth century Christianity had become the only legal religion in the Roman empire; and so then, Christians, once persecuted, became the persecutors. Indeed, by Christmas Day 800 A.D., Christian king Charlemagne had defeated the pagan Saxons in battle, and told them all that they could come either to be baptized, or else he would kill them.

Willems and friends, the so-called Anabaptists, were hated, thought be to be the most despicable of heretics. But the Anabaptists thought there was something quite wrong with how Jesus was being used by the powers. So they refused, as had the early church, to fight the kings' and princes' wars; they refused to swear oaths; they refused to baptize babies; they refused to say that the Sermon on the Mount was not to be taken seriously. And so the Catholic and Protestant authorities arrested them in droves, killed them by burning and drowning, sometimes cutting out their tongues, sometimes tearing their flesh with red hot tongs.

It was all done with great piety, in the name of Jesus. Many political horrors have been done in the name of Jesus.
So Willems was awaiting trial one cold wintry day, and escaped. He fled across a frozen river, but the deputy in pursuit fell through the ice, called for help. Willems, his consciousness suffused I would guess with words about love of enemies, stopped, turned back, and pulled the deputy to safety. The sheriff arrived, demanded that the deputy arrest Willems. The deputy protested. The sheriff insisted. The deputy obeyed. Willems was soon executed.

There are important questions at stake in any national election, but we will not be giving such guidance tonight. Our agenda is different: it seems to me that Jesus was undoubtedly political, for he talked about and taught round all of the things the politicians talk about: offenses, debt, law, enemies, sex, money, power, women, children, the least of these. The question is not whether Jesus was political; the question is whether any of us really want his kind of politics, an extravagantly gracious, painfully truthful, suffering servanthood, that got him killed, a way of life to which he also called all who would follow him. Few people liked his campaign platform them; few like it now, including, I confess, myself; who really, after all, wants that kind of king? But it's tokens of that sort of politics for which we look tonight.
I'm going to quote that last paragraph again, because I think it's SO important.
There are important questions at stake in any national election, but we will not be giving such guidance tonight. Our agenda is different: it seems to me that Jesus was undoubtedly political, for he talked about and taught round all of the things the politicians talk about: offenses, debt, law, enemies, sex, money, power, women, children, the least of these. The question is not whether Jesus was political; the question is whether any of us really want his kind of politics, an extravagantly gracious, painfully truthful, suffering servanthood, that got him killed, a way of life to which he also called all who would follow him. Few people liked his campaign platform them; few like it now, including, I confess, myself; who really, after all, wants that kind of king? But it's tokens of that sort of politics for which we look tonight.
No matter where we might fall in the political, or even if we choose not to participate out of conviction, followers of Jesus have to understand that we are called to a higher purpose than political ones. No matter how inspired by a candidate we might be, or convicted of the rightness of our cause, we are still called to a higher purpose than what might be accomplished through whatever candidate we support.

God will continue to work in this world whether McCain or Obama is elected on Tuesday. The question is: will we work with God?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Caption This Picture!

When I saw this yesterday on Wonkette, my first reaction was, "Please, tell me this is a joke!" I think I know what's going on. According to CBN, October 29 was Day of Prayer for the World’s Economies and these Christians are "laying hands" on the bull as a part of that prayer. Now, I think theologically, they're on a bit of shaky ground theologically praying for economies, but... ok, sure.

However, surely, SURELY, someone could have thought this through a little better and said, "You know, I think there's a story similar to this in the Bible somewhere. This visual might not be the best thing. Maybe there's a better place to do this."

At any rate, here's the picture to caption. Be funny!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trunk and Treat Pics

As promised, no politics today. Here are pictures from Otter Creek's Trunk and Treat on Sunday.

Kinsey is Harry Potter and Connor is Woody from Toy Story (notice the doll in his bucket?)

If you look really closely, you can see the scar above her right eye.

Connor never did want to put the bandanna on.

Our life group had a major showing. Special guests included: Daphne from Scooby Doo, Sara Palin, Meg from Family Guy, and a pirate.

There were a TON of people there.

Me and the kids.

The whole family together.



I found these two videos on ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), this one from the left, actually ACORN itself. It's 5 minutes.

And this one from Hannity and Colmes. It's 7 minutes.

You decide.

Both Sides of Fear

I'll post some pics of Kinsey and Connor in their Halloween outfits tomorrow, but pursuant to yesterday's conversation, the Daily Show skewered the fear on both sides of the campaign. As you might imagine, they pick on the McCain side a bit more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Focus on the Fear-mily

Last week, Focus on the Family's political action wing, Focus on the Family Action, published a letter trying to describe what life for Christians would be like in 2012 under an Obama administration. From the WorldNetDaily summary, here are some predicted aspects:
  • Six liberal justices sit on the Supreme Court after the immediate resignation of John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the later resignations of Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.

  • Homosexual marriage has been ruled a constitutional right that must be respected by all 50 states.

  • The Boy Scouts have disbanded rather than obey a decision forcing them to allow homosexual scoutmasters. (The Scouts already had been kicked out of public facilities because of an expansion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to cover people who engage in homosexual behavior.)

  • Elementary schools have compulsory training in varieties of gender identity. Courts rule parents cannot opt out their children, because the training is deemed essential to psychological health.

  • Evangelical and Catholic adoption agencies cease to exist after the Supreme Court rules they must agree to place children with homosexuals or lose their licenses.

  • Church buildings are now considered a "public accommodation" by the United States Supreme Court, and churches have no freedom to refuse to allow their buildings to be used for wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples.

  • High schools are no longer free to allow "see you at the pole" meetings where students pray together or any student Bible studies even before or after school.

  • The Supreme Court barred public schools in all 50 states from allowing churches to rent their facilities, even on Sundays, when school was not in session.

  • Obama signed the Freedom of Choice Act, as he promised the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, nullifying hundreds of state laws that had created even the slightest barrier to abortion.

  • The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and TV broadcasts, and television programs at all hours of the day now contain explicit portrayals of sexual acts.

  • As a result of a reversal of its 5-4 decision in the D.C. gun-ownership case, it is now illegal for private citizens to own guns for self-defense in eight states, and the number is growing with increasing Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships

  • Parents' freedom to teach their children at home has been severely restricted nationwide after the Supreme Court followed the legal reasoning of a Feb. 28, 2008, ruling by the Second District Court of Appeal in California.
Obviously this is aimed at getting conservative Christian voters out there, primarily through fear.

And I think this is absolutely sad. Pathetic.

Look, I don't mind people being for or against either candidate. But if you're going to have legitimate conversations about it, this kind of fear-based politicking says some really sad things about it.

1) And I've said this before, this shows a complete lack of faith in John McCain. They don't think he's a strong enough candidate to beat Obama so they have to attack Obama.

2) They think (probably with good measure) that many conservative Christians are susceptible to this kind of "reasoning" and so they can describe basically an evangelical Christian Hell and believe that people will respond to that. To me, that shows that Christians are more susceptible to fear rather than faith.

You see, because if you truly believe that Obama is misguided or evil or whatever and would be bad for America, I can understand that.





America is NOT God's chosen country. The United States does not have the monopoly on what it means to be a Christian. In fact, many of the ways that the US has achieved what it has achieved is directly counter to the teachings of Jesus: Turn the other cheek, love our enemies, sell everything we have and give to the poor, do to the least of these our brothers and sisters? Killing native Americans, enslaving African Americans, ignoring the plight of the poor is not being a Christian nation. It's being a nation that achieves its kingdom by means of this world. It's being of this world. Am I grateful to live in America where I get to enjoy the freedoms that I have and the luxuries that I have? Absolutely. Do I tie those freedoms and luxuries to believing that God has blessed me more than those who don't have what I have? If I do, I'm an idiot, a moron, a fool.

God is going to continue the work of bringing about salvation to this world whether John McCain or Barack Obama or whoever is president. Followers of Jesus should not succumb to fear tactics, whether from the right about what this nation would look like 4 years from now under Obama or from the left about McCain being Bush 2: The Bushening.

What we should be concerned about is how we can partner with God through Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about His work and purposes in this world. And none of that is tied to who gets elected president.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Prayer During Economic Insecurity

A post that I'm going to blatantly rip off from Mike Cope, but it's one that I think it especially important during this time as we realize that putting our hope in our savings and investments might have been misplaced:

We remember, Lord, that Jesus told one of the Seven Churches that they appeared to be rich but that they were actually poor. They needed his wealth so they wouldn’t be poor; they needed his clothes so they wouldn’t be naked; they needed his salve so they wouldn’t be blind.

We also remember that he told another of the churches that while they appeared to be impoverished they were actually rich. Their wealth wasn’t financial; it was much more valuable.

In these uncertain economic times, help us proclaim again through our words and our lives:

- that some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God;

- that some trust in nations, governments, and politicians, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God;

- that some trust in retirement funds, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

And so, O Lord, we join our voices with those of our brothers and sisters from many nations and many languages:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

YouTube Thursday: He is Like a Mountie!

If you haven't seen this... well, consider this your introduction to the craze that is sweeping the nation. 1.1 million viewers can't be wrong.

Jesus is My Friend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NY Times: The Making (and Remaking and Remaking) of McCain

I don't know if you're tired yet of me talking about politics. And if you are, I'm sorry. But this campaign has been one of the most fascinating that I can remember. Maybe as interesting as Bush/Clinton in 1992 (oh, Lord, that's 16 years ago...)

However, if you are at all interested in the inner workings of political campaigns, I HIGHLY recommend this article in the New York Times on the McCain campaign.

It's fairly well balanced, and presents the journalist's view of 6 different campaign narratives of the McCain campaign.

#1 The Heroic Fighter vs. the Quitters
#2 Country-First Deal Maker vs. Nonpartisan Pretender
#3 Leader vs. Celebrity
#4 Team of Mavericks vs. Old-Style Washington
#5 John McCain vs. John McCain
#6 The Fighter (Again) vs. the Tax-and-Spend Liberal

It's long, and it will be interesting if a different article is written if McCain wins and if they publish a similar piece on the Obama campaign. But for political junkies (like me) this article is like crack.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Pictures

This last weekend, Sheryl took a girls weekend to Atlanta, and I had both kids. For one thing, this really made me appreciate what single parents have to go through, because you have to be ON the whole time. I was especially missing her on Sunday morning at church as I was doing my set up and tear down from the Sunday morning worship. Keeping an eye on both kids and trying to do all the stuff that I need to do was very stressful.

At any rate, even with that, we had a ton of fun this weekend. One of the things I really try to do for the kids is create memories that they'll look back on fondly, and one of the fondest memories I have is jumping in leaf piles. (btw, all these were taken with my iPhone, so sorry about the quality.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palin and Powell

Well, in case you missed it, Governor Sarah Palin appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend. I've read some commentors and commentators who have found it interesting and disappointing that she decided to go on a comedy show like SNL, but not a more serious news/interview show like Meet the Press or This Week. Whatever you think of that, she was pretty funny on SNL. I do wish she'd done this rap though...


1, 2, 3

My name is Sarah Palin
You all know me,
Vice-Prezzy nominee,
of the GOP.

Gonna need ya vote,
In the next election.
Can I get a "woot woot!"
From the senior section.

McCain got experience.
McCain got style.
But don't let him creep you out,
When he drops that smile.
'Cause that smile be creepy!
But when I'm VP,
All the leaders of the world gonna FINALLY meet me.

Jeremiah Wright,
'Cause tonight I'm the preacher,
I got a bookish look,
And you're all hot for teacher.

Todd lookin' fine on his snowmachine,
So hot for each other,
He the "go-between."

In Wasilla,
We just chill, baby, chilla,
But when I see oil it's
"Drill baby! Drilla!"

My country tis of the Thee,
From my porch I can see,
Russia and such.....

All the mavericks in the house put your hands up,
All the mavericks in the house put your hands up,
All the plumbers in the house pull your pants up,
All the plumbers in the house pull your pants up!

When I say "Obama" you say "Ayers!"
I built me a bridge, it ain't goin' nowhere!

McCain/Palin, gonna put the nail in
The coffin of the media elite!
(she likes red meat!)
Shoot a mother humpin' moose 8 days of the week!

(shoots someone dressed in a moose costume)

Now ya dead!
Now ya dead 'cause I'm an animal!
And I'm bigger than you!
Hold that shotgun,
Rockin the pump.
Everybody party,
We're goin' to hunt!

la la la la la la laaaaaaa

(shoots at the audience)

Yo I'm Palin and I'm out!

However, Republican former Secretary of State Colin Powell did go on Meet the Press and formally endorsed Barack Obama for President. Some people will question whether or not he was ever a "true" Republican, since he supports gay rights and is pro-choice. However, whether or not you agree with Powell, I think he did make some interesting points.


MR. BROKAW: General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you're prepared to support?

GEN. POWELL: Yes, but let me lead into it this way. I know both of these individuals very well now. I've known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I've gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president. I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that's a choice the party makes. And I've said to Mr. Obama, "You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president."

And I've watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I've had this conversation with him. I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions. And I must say that I've gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well. I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.

And I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration. I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Restoring Community

In oursmall group on Sunday nights, we're studying the book of Luke. Last week we talked about a chapter that has frustrated me in understanding it and I had a flash of insight about two stories that helped them make more sense. Specifically Luke 8:26-48.

After Jesus apparently woken up very grumpy from a nap and calmed the waves, he and his followers come to a man possessed by a number of demons. When Jesus casts the demons out, the man returns to his normal self and even though he wants to follow Jesus, Jesus tells him to return home and tell people about what God has done for him. Immediately after Jesus returns to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, he's approached by Jairus a synagogue ruler about his dying daughter. On his way to heal the girl, a woman with bleeding for years touched Jesus' cloak and she is healed.

Now on hand these two stories don't appear related outside the healing aspects. But there's something deeper I think. By removing the man's demons and healing the woman, both of them have been made "clean" or rather acceptable in the sight of the community. We tend to think of healing from only the physical aspect, but there was a societal aspect of it as well. A man naked among the graves would not have been allowed to be a part of the larger community. A woman bleeding for years was so unclean that she could not be with a man or even worship God according to the Jewish customs; she was ceremonially unclean.

By healing these people, Jesus not only took care of physcial infirmities, but just as importantly helped restore them to their communities, giving them a witness of God's miraculous love. Which causes me to think about ways that I as a follower of Jesus can help in that same mission, to restore people to community.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

YouTube Thursday: Loretta, Daphne, Carol, Carol, Carol, Carol

With all the political heaviness going around, I thought it might be fun to have a clip the girls' names Dr. Cox has called J.D. on Scrubs (Seasons 4-5). Enjoy.

And here's Seasons 1-3

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Check back later today for pictures of Sheryl and Kinsey's trip to Disney World in Florida.

Kinsey and her cousin Kay in front of Cinderella's castle

Katy and Kinsey with my mom

Katy and Kinsey scouting for the next step in their trip.

Sheryl, Katy, Kinsey, and Julie (my sister)

Kinsey and Katy together

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fire the Campaign

Really excellent Op-Ed on the McCain campaign from Bill Kristol in the New York Times.

Fire the Campaign

Here's my thing. I wish to high heaven that the McCain from 2000 were running. That was a true centrist maverick who didn't "sell his soul" to the right wing side of the party. That's a McCain I would vote for.

But that McCain isn't running.

Right now, primarily because of the negative campaigning as well as choosing someone I think is underqualified for VP in order to placate the right side of the party. Admittedly a side that delivered the presidency to Bush in 2004. And so, my leaning right now is to Obama.

But here's the thing. If McCain comes out at the next debate, looks Obama in the eye and says, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for allowing my campaign to get out of control in its attacks on you. I apologize and hope that for the next three weeks we can conduct the civil campaign that so many voters hoped from the two of us," that would begin to sway me. I lean moderate to conservative in my political feelings anyway and so I tend to be more sympathetic to McCain anyway.

No, I don't believe McCain is Satan and Obama is the Messiah, and maybe, just maybe the rest of this campaign can be on real issues and not on fear, from either side.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reaping What We've Sown

On Wednesday night, my friend Lee Camp has spoke at Otter Creek's Vespers service and it was fascinating talk. I think he'll have it on his site soon.

One of the ideas that he talked about was judgement and the interesting point that when the Bible talks about judgment, one of the assumptions that Christians make is that it's talking about the outsiders, those that aren't Christians. But the point that Lee made is that typically when the Bible talks about judgment, it's almost always brought to the "house of God" first. So when the Bible talks about judgment, we who claim the name of Christ should be careful how we proclaim judgments on others.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

You Tube Thursday: A-Ha's Take On Me, the Literal Version

As a child of the 80s, I was amazed at music videos and can even remember the first one I ever saw (Lucky Star by Madonna). I remember being scared over at friend's house when Michael Jackson's Thriller first aired (we didn't have cable) and staying up late for NBC's Friday Night Videos. One of the seminal videos during that time was a-ha's Take On Me, which combined live action and pencil-like animation.

Now, this is one of those videos that when you watch it, it makes absolutely zero sense in relation to the lyrics.

And so, some kind soul has redone the lyrics to make much more sense in context of the video. And it made me laugh so hard I had tears coming from my eyes.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Ok, so it wasn't really a debate last night. In fact, we don't really have debates anymore. We have someone asking questions while the candidates desperately search for a way to shoehorn their stump speeches into it. It seems to be the general consensus that Obama "won" the debate, whatever that really means. CNN MSNBC ABC CBS FoxNews Contributors To me, McCain seemed to attack more and Obama seemed to lie back some and then pounce here and there. I thought McCain's best moment was with the Naval Petty Officer, and Obama's was the one about his mother spending her last days fighting insurance companies.

Do these debates help anyone? Or do they really just confirm people's choices?

Oh and if you'd like an alternative election experience, try this. Kung Fu Election :-)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Negotiating with a 2 year old

Sheryl and I are pretty lucky with Connor. He's a pretty good kid, listens to us (mostly), and is even known to do what we tell him to. The one area where this is not true is his eating. And we are trying everything, but he's getting really stubborn about this now. It's almost like he has a block about eating at the table. He likes snacks and stuff and will have fruit or some Goldfish, but as for eating table food, it's almost impossible.

I'm thinking we might have to go with the eat-what's-on-your-plate or nothing idea, because otherwise we might never get him to eat, and if you've ever tried negotiating with a two year old, it's almost impossible.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Zoe Conference: Thoughts and Impressions

The Zoe Conference was this weekend at Woodmont Hills Church of Christ/Family of God this weekend. The theme this year was Fearless and that was obviously very relevant to the turbulent times that we're all in right now (although I find it interesting that we are fearful of what threatens our ability to have comforts, rather than what could threaten our lives as so many others experience throughout the world).

It was a good weekend. Sheryl and I had houseguests in our basement (Adam, Matt, and Chris) and that was fun for me and for the rest of the family too. I got a chance to spend some time with Brandon, which I haven't done for a while now. It was good to see him and Sheryl and their kids. I got to talk to Murray Sanderson, the incoming worship minister at Otter Creek, as well as renew some acquaintances from earlier conferences.

Some highlights for me. I enjoyed hearing Scot McKnight's talks and his reflections on James in the leadership conference. I really enjoyed watching the movie "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers" Thursday night. I thought the worship during the conference was excellent, even with the numbers being down quite a bit from previous conferences. I really enjoyed Jeff Walling on Friday night, even though he's not always my favorite speaker. I thought he did a really good job with this part. Cope and Harris did fantastic jobs, of course, and I really enjoyed the final session's walk through Revelation. Larry Mudd did a great job as John during it.

I do always regret that I'm not able to do more interacting during the worship conference itself. For the last couple of years, I've been running the MediaShout, so that's meant that I've needed to meet with people to get things straight and not go to any sessions or interact with people. This year was bittersweet, of course, because it was my first time to run MediaShout with Brandon, since he resigned from Otter Creek almost 9 months ago. It was like slipping into an old shoe with knowing how he likes his transitions done and when he needs the slide changed to make sure he won't sing the wrong words. I will say that it was especially weird not having the Zoe team at Otter Creek on Sunday, and knowing that they were all down at Woodmont Hills. Having the team at OC on Sundays after Zoe was always something that made me feel like OC was deeply involved in Zoe and it felt like more of a disconnect this year from that.

So, all in all, a good weekend. A weekend of thinking about what makes us fearful and the God who can be with us, even in those fears.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Heroes Wednesday: Ummmm.... episode 3

In order to keep liking Heroes, I think I'm going to have to stop reviewing it. The main reason is that if I think too much about it, I'll stop enjoying it. I can't think about the idea that Bennett would willing work with Sylar, even for a short time, after what he did to Claire. That he wouldn't shoot Sylar (or the screaming guy) through the glass to prevent Sylar from taking his power.

We had no Mohinder so we don't get to continue to see how stupid he is. I think Nathan Petrelli's arc is interesting, especially with the religious twist they're putting on it.

At any rate, I still really like the show, but it doesn't stand up to deep analysis. As one critic said after last week's episode... "people have argued the point with me, but my feeling is that the show wasn't even that good in season 1, outside of a handful of episodes ("Five Years Later," "Company Man"), but the novelty of it, the cliffhangers, and our misguided belief that this was all going somewhere fooled us into thinking "Heroes" was better than it actually was. Once we got the season one finale, and especially once we got season two, the blinders came off and we realized the emperor has no clothes, and probably never did." I think I agree with him, but it doesn't stop me from liking the show.
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