Friday, April 24, 2009

Torture and The Follower of Jesus

Obviously, the big talk for the last couple of weeks is the release of the torture memos by the Obama administration, as well as the waffling that the President and his administration have done about the prosecution of individuals who either participated in the practice of "enhanced interrogation techniques" or the people who wrote legal opinions justifying it.

I'm not going to talk about the dissembling and fracturing of language participated in by the Bush administration because of these legal opinions ("these documents say that what we're doing isn't torture so I can go in front of America and say we don't torture.") or the waffling by the Obama administration ("No, we won't prosecute the people who did this. Um... when I said 'we,' I meant the White House. Anyone else can do what they want.")

What I will say this. If we claim to follow a Jesus who told us not only to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), but also to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45), if we claim to have the same attitude of Jesus and put others needs ahead of our own (Philippians 2:5-11), if we claim to follow a Savior who was tortured to death by the most powerful empire at the time, then as those followers we cannot condone or support this activity.

I honestly don't care what having committed torture says about America. I'm much more concerned that there are people who would view America's use of torture as a tantamount approval by Christians that torture is acceptable.

It's not.

Can torture gain information about potential terror attacks to prevent the loss of innocent life? Maybe. But the truth is that if we resort to tactics that those we consider evil use, then we are saying the (good) ends justifies the (evil) means. Here's the clue though. Almost everyone that we would consider evil, considers themselves good. A dictator typically thinks that he or she is doing what is best for their people and the means to accomplish that are unimportant.

If we claim to follow Jesus, we cannot be people who support torture. We simply cannot.

Addendum: A link about the history of waterboarding and its relationship to US Law.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Growing Up

I saw this image the other day and immediately printed it off and it's on my wall at work. I think Star Wars is my Hobbes for my kids.

For others, some poignant, some funny, go here

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quick Kids Update

Sorry again about the late posting. Busy, busy times.

Kinsey is doing very well right now. She's doing very well in school, outside of getting distracted during her classwork time and not finishing that up. When she focuses though, she does very very well.

Connor is feeling much better after his coughing fits of a few weeks ago. He's sleeping through the nights and not having coughing much anymore. He's still going to have his tonsils taken out in June, so that should help him as well. He also ate a piece of broccoli at my mom and dad's on Sunday, which was a huge, huge deal. Hopefully we're on our way to eating more good things for him.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Sorry about not posting on Friday. Sheryl and I did another "Mommy and Daddy" weekend. Thanks to both sets of Grandparents for taking in our weekend orphan children. Much like last time, this was a very relaxing weekend, filled with sleeping in, watching movies, exercising, eating out, and driving around the mountains for northern Georgia and southern North Carolina. It was very relaxing and something that Sheryl and I have committed to do every year or two to remind ourselves that we're a couple even outside of the bond that we have because of our kids. We love our kids, but we also enjoy being by ourselves without them for short periods of time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

YouTube Thursday: Mythbusters Compact a Car

I love Mythbusters. It combines my love of science (not always the best science, but hey, it's TV) and exploding things (usually). Last week was the season premiere of Mythbusters, focusing on car myths. And one that they tested was if a compact car would be fused between two head-on semis. It wasn't.

So they decided to amp it up to another level and they... well, I'll let them explain it. It might be the best thing they've done... maybe ever.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pics

In front of the traditional Holy Saturday fire (It was cold)

With Gee in front of the Easter Egg tree

Easter Egg hunting

Sorry for the late posting. Busy day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

On the Street

I've talked several times on this blog about my friendship and love for Doug Sanders and the work that he does for Otter Creek and for the people who have been marginalized by society.

He's started a new series on his blog, OC Reach Out, about spending Thursday night of Holy Week on the streets of Nashville as a homeless man. Link

I really hope you take a chance today to read it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Luke 23:26-56 (TNIV)

The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30 Then
" 'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!"
and to the hills, "Cover us!"

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is God's Messiah, the Chosen One."

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!"

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

43 Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." d]">When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man." 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

YouTube Thursday: Always Be My Baby - David Cook

TiVo is the greatest way to watch American Idol. You can skip the inane intros, and the inane judge, and listen to the songs and what matters from the judges. This year, I'm pretty much thinking Adam Lambert has it locked up.

Last year though, it was pretty obvious that it was going to come down to David Cook and David Archuleta. I was always a supporter of Cook because I liked his harder edge to the songs he chose and performed (and that Archuleta looked dead behind his eyes). At any rate, I knew for certain that David Cook was going to win after the Mariah Carey week where he turned a lightweight fun pop song into a really solid rock ballad with "Always Be My Baby."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Jon Stewart: Yes,Conservatives, Being in the Minority Sucks

As I've stated many times, I'm an unabashed watcher of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Even as my watching of The Colbert Report has dropped to almost nothing, I still maintain my nightly release valve of watching the Daily Show and someone who was a second rate comedian that was blessed enough to find his niche exactly at the right time.

Last night, Stewart decided to take on some of the conservative angst being felt and expressed on talk radio and TV shows. (Some Adult Language)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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On one hand, I found this a little disingenuous on Stewart's part because as he intimated at the end of the segment, he made a career out of lambasting and lampooning the Bush Administration and so while the conservative commentators might not be as funny as Stewart is, they're not essentially doing anything different than what Stewart did.

On the other hand, I personally have found the conservative angst about Obama to be fairly amusing. I can understand why people dislike his policies or disagree with him, but the "Armageddon is around the corner" sturm und drang that I hear every time I click over to some of our local radio talk show hosts or flip past someone on CNN who says that Obama hates America is honestly approaching laugh-out-loud funny. And so I take great amusement when someone, particularly someone so funny, takes out his pin to put some holes in the ballon of rage that seems to have built up.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Powerless Part 2

As a parent, one of the most helpless times you can have in your life is when your child is sick. There are certain steps you can take depending on the illness, medicine, doctor, humidifier, lukewarm baths, but ultimately all you're trying to do is speed up the healing process. You have to wait for the body to do its work.

This is the way Sheryl and I have been with Connor for the last little while. He will get these incredible coughing fits that make his little 2 year old body sound like a 50 year old man who's smoked 2 packs a day for 30 years. They're strong and powerful and ultimately do absolutely nothing to alleviate anything. His tonsils are huge and he get sinus infections that cause drainage which causes him to cough and cough and cough.

This last Friday and Saturday were two of the worst that I've ever heard from him. It would be no exaggeration to say that he coughed at least every five minutes and sometimes when he coughed, he'd moan in pain because it hurt. He had a slight fever and sometimes his coughs were so long and so sustained that he would throw up.

And I felt powerless. There was only so much Sheryl and I could do for him. We took him to the doctor. We started him on an antibiotic. We gave him cough medicine. We stayed up to comfort him through the night. But none of it felt effective. And honestly it was frustrating. We WANTED to fix him, to make him better, but nothing we did seemed to help. He'd get a little better for a while, then another coughing fit would hit him.

We prayed. We had friends pray. We had elders pray. I might have considered sacrificing a chicken to Jobu the god of curve balls.

Like I said yesterday, I hate feeling powerless. I hate not having control over the situation. And it's funny, I don't mind God having control, but if He's going to have control, I'd like the outcome to be the one I want. It's when the outcome isn't what I want that I tend to believe God isn't in control.

Connor's doing better and we're going to have his tonsils removed after he turns 3, hopefully alleviating a lot of his issues. We're grateful to God for his overall health and what a great kid he is. And we'll trust that God is in control, even if it mean long nights awake with a coughing and hacking 2 year old.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Powerless Part 1

If you'd looked up in the tech booth yesterday morning at Otter Creek, you would have seen me pacing. Back and forth, back and forth. Shaking my hands, waiting. It's because our presentation software, MediaShout, was acting up. The presentation was taking minutes to open when it should take seconds. I had tried opening it up at 9:50 and at 9:55, it still wasn't open. I restarted the computer, and by 10:01 it still wasn't open and Murray had to start the worship time. It finally opened up during the first song, and we had some issues with it later, but it ended up ok.

I take a lot of pride in what I do in the tech booth, trying to make it as seamless as possible and as unnoticeable as it can be, to make the worship service very smooth from a tech perspective, but there are simply times that I have done everything I can to make something work and it just doesn't.

And I hate it.

I want to be in control. I want to be the one making sure that everything goes smoothly and when it doesn't, I feel like it reflects badly on me. I know it doesn't because most people understand tech issues. But it doesn't make me want to succeed any less.

What I have to understand is that I'm not in control. I'm subject to the whims of technical snafus, but even more importantly, I'm subject forces out of my control. I'm subject to temptations from the Enemy and I'm subject to God's Hand in my life. In some ways, realizing that should be freeing, but it isn't in a lot of ways. It makes me frustrated that I'm not the master of my own destiny or even a Sunday morning. I'd have thought that in my late 30s, I'd have a better understanding of that truth, but I don't yet. And perhaps yesterday was an exercise in that realization.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Cult of the New

One of the pressures I feel in my life is what I think of as the pressure to join the "Cult of the New." What I mean by that is this feeling that everything in life has to be new or fresh or the latest thing. I have a major issue with this in electronic stuff, although some of that has waned as I'm starting to get older.

I feel some of this pressure with blogging as well. When I blog on Fridays, I'd love to have some great new theological point or perspective that make people sit up and think Wow. Or cause them to think differently in some way.

But that's dumb.

Are there new ways of thinking about faith? Of course. There are many ways that I haven't been exposed to before. And sometimes it's simple truths that I just don't think about often enough. Far too often, the "Cult of the New," the desire to do something different just because it's different, can lead us down paths that can lead us away from God, conversely though, it can lead to new insights and experiences that show us truth in a new or unexpected way. There must be spiritual and Scriptural discernment as we approach new ideas, individual and community discernment. Through these, what is negative can be rejected and what is positive can be incorporated.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

YouTube Thursday: Sound of Music

So yes, to answer the question that's on almost no one's mind, yesterday was my April Fools' joke. I can't decide whether it's good or sad that so few people were taken in by it, outside of some people initially. At any rate, it was fun. And also, if you're looking to do the upside down text like I did in the follow up post, you can find it here:

As part of my penance, I offer this YouTube clip of people dancing to Do Re Mi from the Sound of Music in a train station in Antwerp, Belgium.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


(-: ˙ǝʞoɾ s,looɟ lıɹdɐ uɐ sı sıɥʇ 'sǝʎ



˙sʇɥƃnoɥʇ ɯopuɐɹ ɹǝɥʇo puɐ sƃuılqɯɐɹ lɐɔıƃoloǝɥʇ puɐ sǝɹnʇɔıd ʎlıɯɐɟ ʎɯ ɥʇıʍ ɯsıssıɔɹɐu ʎɯ ƃuıƃlnpuı ɹoɟ sʞuɐɥʇ 'uǝɥʇ lıʇun ʇnq 'uʍop ɯǝɥʇ ǝʞɐʇ oʇ ǝpıɔǝp ı lıʇun ǝlıɥʍ ɐ ɹoɟ dn ǝsǝɥʇ ǝʌɐǝl ll,ı

˙ǝnuıʇuoɔ oʇ ʇı ɥʇɹoʍ ɯǝǝs ʇ,usǝop ʇsnɾ ʇı 'ɹɐlndod ǝɹoɯ puɐ ǝɹoɯ ƃuıɯoɔǝq llɐ ǝɹɐ ʎǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɥʇ uǝʌǝ 'uıɐƃɐ ˙ʇıqɐɥuı ı ɐıpǝɯ lɐıɔos ɹǝɥʇo ǝɥʇ puɐ ɹǝʇʇıʍʇ puɐ ʞooqǝɔɐɟ dn ǝʌıƃ oʇ pǝpıɔǝp oslɐ ǝʌ,ı 'ɥƃnoɥʇ ʇɐɥʇ oʇ uoıuɐdɯoɔ ɐ sɐ ˙sɯǝǝs ʇı 'ǝuɐʍ ǝɥʇ uo ɟo puıʞ ƃuıƃƃolq ɥʇıʍ ʇı op oʇ ǝɯıʇ pooƃ ɐ ǝʞıl pǝɯǝǝs ʇı ˙dn ʇı ǝʌıƃ oʇ pǝpıɔǝp ǝʌ,ı 'ƃuıƃƃolq ɹɐlnƃǝɹ ɟo sɹɐǝʎ ㄣ ʇsoɯlɐ ɹǝʇɟɐ os ˙ǝɹoɯ ʎuɐ ʇɥƃıɹ ʇıs ʇ,upıp ʇsnɾ dıɹʇ ıʞs ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ sǝɹnʇɔıd ǝsoɥʇ ƃuıʇsod uǝʌǝ 'ʇı ʇnoqɐ ƃuıɥʇǝɯos ʇnq 'ʞɐǝɹq ɐ ɹǝʇɟɐ uıɐƃɐ ƃuıƃƃolq pǝʇɹɐʇs ʇsnɾ ı ʇɐɥʇ ǝzılɐǝɹ ı


I realize that I just started blogging again after a break, but something about it, even posting those pictures from the ski trip just didn't sit right any more. So after almost 4 years of regular blogging, I've decided to give it up. It seemed like a good time to do it with blogging kind of on the wane, it seems. As a companion to that though, I've also decided to give up Facebook and Twitter and the other social media I inhabit. Again, even though they are all becoming more and more popular, it just doesn't seem worth it to continue.

I'll leave these up for a while until I decide to take them down, but until then, thanks for indulging my narcissism with my family pictures and theological ramblings and other random thoughts.



Yes, this is an April Fool's Joke. :-)
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