Friday, February 29, 2008
You can take it here. I'll post my score in the comments later today.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Hi all. A quick announcement from my home church, Otter Creek Church of Christ.
The Otter Creek Church invites you to hear from Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a founding member of the Rutba House in Durham, North Carolina, on February 28, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. Jonathan, who spent time in Iraq with Shane Claiborne as part of a Christian peacemaking team, will be discussing "Signs of the Times & a New Monasticism." He will touch upon several aspects of the new monastic movement, including the contemplative tradition, service to the poor, nonviolence, and practices of intentional community.
Otter Creek is located at 409 Franklin Road, in Brentwood. You can call the church for more information at 615-373-1782.
Hope to see as many of you there as can make it.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I got home and got kisses. After changing, I got down on the floor to play with the kids. Connor and I played Hot Wheels. Sheryl and Kinsey were making a doll house out of a diaper box. And then Kinsey got down and she and Connor just climbed all over me, until Connor started acting really tired, so I grabbed him and we went downstairs to watch a little basketball together, which I'm always happy that he enjoys with me. Then we shot baskets together until dinner time when he actually ate spaghetti instead of just bread and cheese.
At this point, he was getting really tired, so I gave him a bath which he really enjoys, especially splashing, which has graduated from splashing with his hands to standing up and plopping down into the water. We read his story and then laid him down.
Kinsey was then done with her bath so I helped her get dry and she did her chores and we read the next chapter in These Happy Golden Years and she laid down to sleep. At which point I went to finish sorting laundry and doing the dishes and give Sheryl a chance to relax. The evening was complete with working on the drums for Rock Band and "playing" "guitar" on "Foreplay/Long Time."
Just a great night and one that will be fewer over the next couple of months. So I thank God for the moments of peace that occur in the busyness.
Monday, February 25, 2008
In our Sunday School class, we looked at the story of Melchizedek, the priest king of Salem in Genesis 14. The specific verses say,
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
"Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand."
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
CS Lewis didn't seem to think it mattered what the name of the God you were serving was, as long as you were doing good, as evinced in the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle. The Calormene Emeth has served Tash, the enemy of Aslan, but in the restored Narnia, encounters Aslan. And the following exchange occurs:
But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he had truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.And that's not to say that CS Lewis has the final word here, but it is an interesting perspective.
Any other thoughts?
Friday, February 22, 2008
It might not be the most romantic thing, but I think what I've said in those two years really encapsulates my feelings for my best friend and every day I get to spend with her is another day that I get great joy in my life. She's a great mother and wife and partner. So to her, Happy Birthday, again and I look forward to many more together. To her, I dedicate this song by Eastmountainsouth.
I won't face another day
I won't wait until tomorrow
I won't spend another night without you
let me carry you away
let me wake you every morning
let me wander every day beside you
'cause you dance in my head, in my heart, in my everything
you won't worry 'bout a thing
you can sleep a little longer
you can dream another dream beside me
I could walk another road
I could sing another sad song
but I could never make it home without you
'cause you dance in my head, in my heart, in my everything
'cause you dance in my head, in my heart, in my hands........
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
For instance, in Wisconsin:
Twice as many voters in the Democratic Primary versus the Republican one. "But, Phil," you say, "the Republican nominee has basically been decided and all the Huckabee votes are protest conservative votes." Ok sure, that's a great point. So let's look at South Carolina when the Republican nomination was still in doubt.
So, only 90,000 difference in votes there, but that's still significant in a southern state and typically a Republican state. What that does seem to show me is that the Republicans are going to have to have a strong "get-out-the-vote" plan to match the fervor of the Democrats and McCain will have to play/pander to conservatives in order to keep them from staying home.
And on the Democrat side, whoever the nominee ends up being will have to work hard to keep their opponent's supporters going against them. It going to be a very interesting election.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
There have been two times though where we have decided to edit Laura a little. In one instance in Little House on the Prairie, Ma and a neighbor lady are having a conversation and one of them says that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian," and Laura relates how Ma hated Indians. Sheryl and I discussed that a little bit and while we read the first, and edited the second to say that Ma disliked Indians, we also said that "Indians" wasn't the best way to describe the people who lived on the land before us.
The other time, we completely excised a section of a chapter of Little Town on the Prairie. There is a chapter describing a "literary," which was basically parties that De Smet had every week to get people together. They had spelling bees, living wax statues, singings, and things like that. But one of the literaries they had was a black-faced minstrel show where the men of the town including Pa Ingalls participated. I thought a lot about this and Sheryl and I talked and we decided to not read that section at all. I understand that Kinsey would probably not have and issue with it and Sheryl and I might have been exercising a little too much caution with it, but the truth is that we simply decided that we didn't want to expose her to that. She has such an innocent exposure to race and race relations right now that we want to preserve that for as long as possible.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I'm honestly not trying to turn this into a hagiography, but Scott's influence in my life has been profound and while I know for sure that he is going to be an excellent chaplain and the kind of man that I would want with my family in a time of grief or need, it will leave a hole. I'm thankful to God for Scott and his family and while I'm grateful that they will be staying at Otter Creek, I will miss him in his place on the staff.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
At any rate, when we got back, we had this reunion and we decided to let Kinsey tell all our friends that she was going to be a big sister. It was taken with our little digital camera, so the quality isn't great, but it is a nice moment.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
People in my faith tradition love the Bible.Thoughts?
You may think that you too love the Bible, but you're wrong. We really, really love the Bible. We attend Bible class and Bible camp. Our kids learn about the Bible and compare their knowledge in "Bible Bowl". To protect our Bibles, we carry them in special zippered bags. We give one another guilt about reading the Bible. We claim that "we speak where the scripture speaks, and are silent where the scripture is silent." (By "the scripture", we of course mean "the Bible".) We even sing songs about ... you guessed it ... the Bible.
There are some good, historical reasons for this attitude, and very few people know or care about those reasons. Because in our tradition, history isn't very interesting, and neither is Biblical interpretation, really. There is no such thing as "interpreting" the Bible. It simply says what it means, and means what it says ... and what it means and says are what we've always said that it says and means.
It wasn't a bad way to grow up. I sailed along happily, riding this wave of certainty, singing about how I loved the Bible and how I wished someone would give me a Bible and how much I loved Bible camp, until one year at said Bible camp, something happened that roughened the seas a bit.
Every year, at the end of the week, the boys and the girls of each age group would engage in a Bible trivia competition. That year we had been studying 1 and 2 Timothy -- you know, the authoritarian epistles -- and we boys were, like every year, pretty much resigned to losing. The girls always beat us. But somehow, this year, perhaps buoyed up by the writer's exhortation that women should learn "in quietness and full submisssion", we eked out a win.
The girls were downcast. We were jubilant. And in the middle of our celebration, someone (I'm pretty sure it wasn't me) purloined the words of 2 timothy 3 for a victory chant:
"Weak-willed women. Weak-willed women! Weak-willed women!"
We all chanted together, rejoicing in our superior Bible knowledge.
Then I noticed that one of the girls was crying, quietly.
If you've ever been a junior-high boy, you will probably know what happens when you see the tears of a junior-high girl who is kind, intelligent and more than a little bit cute.
You're utterly befuddled.
You walk back to your cabin, deeply confused. And as you process the situation, you start to notice that something is wrong. You're not quite sure what yet, but something, you know, is terribly wrong.
After a few years, you figure it out: something must be wrong with the Bible. Friends and acquaintances are abandoning their faith because they can't follow a God who would order genocide, or denigrate women, or abhor gays. And they can't simply ignore a few Bible verses and go on with their faith, because if they learned anything growing up in church, they learned this: either all of the Bible is true, or none of it's true.
But soon after, you realize that maybe nothing is wrong the Bible; maybe something is broken about how you're interpreting it. And if something is broken about how you're interpreting it, maybe something is also wrong about how you're applying those interpretations. Over time, and with quite a bit of help, you begin feeling your way out of the darkness of Christian fundamentalism and the trap of biblical literalism. You can see the contradictions in the text now, but they don't scare you. They simply point to he beautiful frailty of the real people behind the Bible, a frailty that you see all around you every day. As you change the way you interpret the Bible, you change your theology. You begin ignoring those parts of the Bible that endorse prejudice, or misogyny, or genocide. You allow other voices, like science and your own experience, to inform your understanding of God.
Then you wake up one morning and realize that you don't fit in at church. Not only don't you fit in, but you're not really welcome, and you don't particularly like being there.
And that's where I found myself a few weeks ago.
I realized that while my church is admirable in its attempts to pursue social justice and racial integration, its justifications for doing so, and its core theology, were essentially fundamentalist. My church is great in that it has no creeds, no membership, no checklist telling us who's in and who's out, but underlying all of its programs, all its deliberations about church leadership, all its expressions of worship and interactions with the surrounding community was this fundamental, axiomatic belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God. And that made church exhuasting.
Instead of singing, I spent my time trying to translate the song lyrics into metaphors I could affirm.
Instead of praying, I spent my time pondering the moral bankruptcy of a God who would grant any of our prayer requests, while every day, thousands of people starved to death. I tried not to be appalled at people who would follow such a God.
Instead of speaking the standard Jesus-speak, or providing perspectives that would contradict the established church culture, I tried to keep my mouth shut. I mostly failed at that, though, which mostly made me feel like a curmudgeonly bastard.
I became desperately grouchy, because I was always having to define my faith in terms of what I didn't believe, and I didn't have any spiritual mentors who could show me the way to a positive, progressive faith. (Thank God for the Internet, right? People like Paul and Crystal kept me afloat ... I want to kiss them.)
Finally, I realized that being at church wasn't doing me any good. It wasn't making me a more virtuous person, and it wasn't even making me feel good. Going to church was like poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick, and it would probably be better for everyone involved if I just STOPPED POKING MYSELF IN THE EYE WITH A STICK.
So I did. And now I feel better.
In the future, I may return to a church. My roots are there, my family is there, and I'd like to try to help people who are looking for an alternative to fundamentalism. But for now, I have to figure out the next few lines of my story.
I'd like to find a faith community that exhibits the virtues that I hope to learn. I'd like to find mentors who can express their progressive faith in positive terms. I'd like to see if I can learn some wisdom from other faith traditions, because there are books other than the Bible. I've even read a few of them, and while in lots of places they're as scary as the Bible in the hands of an angry fundamentalist, there always seems to be something to learn about love, or people, or God.
And one last thing: for those of you who might be worried about my apostasy, have no fear. God is out here too.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
We never covered up, but we listened to both the TV and outside. We had the torrential rain, some brief hail, then it got really quiet. And we got scared. Thankfully, the storm passed over us, even though it went on to do terrible damage to accompany the damage it had already done. However, the kids slept through it and won't have a memory of it.
What I will remember is that as I was holding Kinsey in my arms and looking furtively over at the pile of pillows, wondering if we were going to have to make a mad dash over there, I looked at Sheryl holding Connor and down at Kinsey's sleep-mussed head that they are everything to me. I realized right then that everything we have could be obliterated, that everything could be gone, but if anything happened to any of them, I would be destroyed. Who I am is so totally wrapped up in them that I can't even think about what life would be like without them.
And so, I'm grateful to God for them. I'm thankful that He's given me ways to express and share love that I could never have imagined 15 years ago. We can never truly imagine our capacity for love until we get the opportunity to give it.
Monday, February 11, 2008
The second stop sign is about 100 yards from my house and it's a right turn into our neighborhood. I slowed at the turn and turned into our neighborhood and as I'm turning into our driveway, I see blue lights behind me. Thinking he might be going up our street, I complete the turn into our driveway to get out of his way and he pulls in behind me.
So that's how I ended up getting a ticket in my driveway.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Let me start out by saying that I am very grateful to God for bringing Thomas into my life. Starting from Church of the Redeemer meeting at the old Otter Creek building to our association in the Nashville Cohort, he has been someone who provides some good perspective on several of the questions that I've been asking.
The thought that Thomas had was this:
Ultimately, I think Phil's problems have little to do with literal vs. figurative. It sounds much more like he is concerned about the character of God. He sounds like he would prefer a "kinder, gentler" god than the one he sometimes sees in the Bible. I understand that, having felt the same way many times.Thomas is not wrong on this. It's not the only question, but it certainly is a part of it. As I stated in the Old Testament part of this series. It does bother me that the God who is defined as love in the New Testament would call for the genocide of the Canaanites.
But I think he is hiding behind figurative vs. literal. I could be wrong, certainly, but I think this is more about the God of the Bible than the Bible itself.
However, I don't that it's as easy to separate the Bible from the God of the Bible. If our entire definition(s) of God come from the Bible, then something that I have to deal with is one on hand, the truth of the Bible, and on another, the literal or figurative historicity of the Bible. Where I'm trying to get is maybe to not focus on the literal/figurative section. And maybe this is simply a step that I'm having to go through to a different understanding of it.
You see, my faith has always been lived through the lens of the Bible. And part of that problem is that if I'm honest with myself, I do have a lot of questions about the authors and the literalness of it. And if I begin to doubt the reliability of Scripture, then the natural next step is to doubt the faith that I have gained because of the Bible and the interpretations of it.
So what I'm trying not to is throw the baby out with the bathwater. If my view of Scripture is not the traditional (kind of) literal view of Scripture that I've had most of my life, then how does my faith change? Do I lose my faith? Perhaps some will, but I don't think I will. My faith is too important to me to let a changing view of Scripture and the God revealed within that Scripture subvert it.
I feel like I'm rambling a lot here, but there are some deep-seated questions that I'm wrestling with while trying to be honest with myself (and all of you). I don't know if that clears anything up or not or just muddies the waters more.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Two years ago, I admitted that I love politics. I love the races and I watch both sides with equal interest. And while I've also admitted that I think politics is a very imperfect way to try and achieve the goals of the Kingdom of God, that doesn't dampen my interest in it.
I didn't get to watch much of the returns last night for Super Tuesday. Sheryl and I spent about a half hour or so in our basement with the kids as a tornado went fairly near our house and then continuing to watch the local channels as more came kind of near us, but some basic reactions to Super Tuesday.
First off, can someone explain why there's not a federal law calling for, if not one national primary, maybe four different ones in January, February, March, and April? It makes no sense that Iowa and New Hampshire to determine who the candidates will be.
Sorry all you Huck-ers, Mitt-ites, and conspiracy theorists... I mean, Ron Paulines. McCain's got this one sewn up. He's got a ton of delegates and he might not have won a majority of votes in all the states, but he's really drawing from a lot of places. It's been very interesting for me to listen to conservative talk radio and how much people seem to HATE McCain. I guess I can understand why. But it seems that all the reasons that conservatives dislike him is why I do. It seems that his greatest offense is that he's worked with Democrats to pass legislation in Congress. I guess conservatives think that's compromising.
I know Justin will agree with me, but the media is really short changing a candidate in the Republican primary, but it's not Justin's candidate. Ron Paul deserves the little attention he's getting as evidenced by how he did last night. The candidate that had been pushed to the side was Huckabee. And he showed last night that he's still a force to be reckoned with. He's not going to be the nominee, but he showed that he has clout by winning in the South. People may disagree with him and might think that a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain, but it wasn't last night. Last night, a vote for Huckabee was another nudge toward making him the Vice President.
For the first time in my life yesterday, I voted for a Democrat for president, Obama. There are things I will disagree with him on, but I honestly feel like he would do a good job as the president and could bring some unity to the political landscape.
Now, outside of that, I want to mention something. I was watching CNN before the storms came and there seemed to be some amazement about the idea that white people in the South were voting for Obama. Here's my theory: Because of the civil rights era and the predominance of African-Americans in the South, we have been forced to deal with our prejudices in a more open environment. We have had to come to terms in a way that perhaps other parts of the country might have not had to. Now, I haven't lived in other parts of the country. I've lived in Nashville my entire life so I may not have a proper perspective on it. But my sense is that, especially among people my age and younger, we don't judge someone on their skin color. Now we might judge on clothing or appearance or perceived economic status, but we don't judge on skin color, which is why Obama does as well as he does with younger voters and even younger white voters.
One thing is for certain on the Democratic side: this ain't over. It's still a horse race. One number I saw this morning said that there were over 14 million votes cast in the Democratic primaries and out of those, only 40,000 are separating Clinton from Obama. Whatever the case, it's going to be a ton of fun to keep watching on both sides.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
10 Things I'm Learning from Being a Parent
And for the record, it's Kinsey, 6 and Connor, 1
1. I'm learning that there is nothing better than a scream of "Daddy!" or "Hi Dada!" when I come home from work.
2. I expect too much sometimes of a 6 year old and a 1 year old, but they keep meeting and exceeding those expectations (most of the time).
3. Reading the Little House on the Prairie series every night has been one of the neatest things to do.
4. I'm not great at playing dolls, but I rock at Hot Wheels.
5. There are physical things that you will do for your child that would never occur to you to do to anyone else and require multiple hand washings afterwards.
6. Calvin and Hobbes is sometimes the most incredible representation of a six-year-old's life.
7. Wrestling against Daddy 3 on 1 is fun.
8. Picking out an outfit for a boy is much easier than for a girl.
9. I couldn't do this alone.
10. If God is anything like me, He gets really frustrated sometimes, but nothing, ever, ever, ever, will stop Him from loving His children.
Tagging: Amy G., Scott, Malia and/or David, Amy W., and Elizabeth.
Monday, February 04, 2008
We had a bunch of people at our house for the game: most of our small group and a few extra people too, which made it a ton of fun. Kids were running around and playing, we were yelling at the plays, and there was even clapping for commercials. My personal favorite was the Macy's balloon one where Charlie Brown finally succeeded in gaining something. But I still enjoyed the Night at the Roxbury's "Baby Don't Hurt Me" Pepsi commercial, the Dorito's Mouse commercial, and the Tide talking stain was pretty entertaining as well.
However, my favorite moment of the night was a simple one. Connor decided that he wanted to come downstairs with me at one point and when I tried to put him down on the ground, he wanted to stay with me, so I got to sit in a big comfy chair with my son in my arms watching the Super Bowl. He would cheer and clap when we did and even decided to dance during the halftime show, which (sorry, Tiffany) didn't match up to Prince last year or U2 from 2002.
Great time and a great game.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages
Find page 123
Find the first 5 sentences
Post the next 3 sentences
Tag 5 peopleThe nearest book was The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, which is awesome btw. There's only pictures on page 123, so here's page 122.
"When George saw the locations, the roads were much narrower than he would have wished," Barry adds. So we had to find the smallest vehicle there was and make it half as small again. There's a little thing called a 'Bomb Bug,' which is a trike; it has three wheels."
Extra nerd points if you can guess what vehicle they're talking about building.
My tags: Justin, Judy, Adam, Thomas+ and Malia and/or David.
Friday, February 01, 2008
In my mind, there are basically three ways of interpreting Scripture, each with flaws.
- Entirely literally, which can lead to such things as believing that God (or Satan) planted the dinosaur fossils to challenge our faith and make it difficult to believe in God and the Bible.
- Entirely figuratively, which in my mind loses much of the value of Scripture, particularly when it comes to Jesus and His Resurrection, something I view as central to Christian faith.
- And then the way that I've been thinking, a combination of literal and figurative, which as I discussed in the first installment of this whole thing, can lead to cherry picking which Scripture we decide are literal and which are figurative, although .
With the third way, there's discernment and study that have to go into determining what is intended to be taken literally and figuratively. In a way, this mindset would seem to free up the Bible to be what it seems like it was meant to be, not completely a rule book or law book to be followed completely (which almost no one does). To me, it is a way to acknowledge Scripture both as God breathed and human influenced, because I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.