Monday, January 30, 2006

Bubble Bursting

Chances are, if you're like me, you missed this important item. Fortunately, its not too late to celebrate with young and old alike. Today, January 30th, is National Bubble Wrap Day. Is there a Hallmark card for that? Anyway, here is a fun, anxiety-releasing opportunity to pop some bubbles.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Brokeback Molehill

I don't plan to see Brokeback Mountain. I did think Barbara Nicolosi's review was interesting. She's a film critic of sorts, runs a training institute called Act One that attempts to aid Christians to get involved in the film culture, and is an interesting read at times. I stole the Brokeback Molehill line from the title of her review. Read if you're interested. Just remember, the world at large can comment on these things, so I certainly don't endorse a lot of what you might read from those commenting on her thoughts. I do think what Barbara says is worth chewing on, and I just thought the whole Brokeback Molehill thing was witty & clever.

Resume faux pas

In the event (unlikely or not) that you're putting together a resume any time soon, I suggest a proof reader. These are funny...

Typos and Grammar Slips:
"Suspected to graduate early next year."
"Disposed of $2.5 billion in assets."
"Proven ability to track down and correct erors."
"Accomplishments: Oversight of entire department."
"Strengths: Ability to meet deadlines while maintaining composer."
"I am a rabid typist."
"Here are my qualifications for you to overlook."
"Work History: Performed brain wave tests, 1879-1981."
"After receiving advice from several different angels, I have decided to pursue a new line of work."
"Accounting cleric."
"As indicted, I have over five years of experience analyzing investments."
"Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details."
"Accomplishments: Completed 11 years of high school."
More Resume Blunders:
"Fired because I fought for lower pay."
"Size of employer: Very tall, probably over 6'5"." (one of my favorites...)
"Please disregard the enclosed resume--it is terribly out of date."
"Finished 8th in my high school graduating class of 10."
"Qualifications: No education or experience."
"I am relatively intelligent, obedient and loyal as a puppy."
"My compensation should be at least equal to my age."
"Reason for Leaving: It had to do with the IRS, FBI and SEC."
"Reason for Leaving: My boss said the end of the world is near."
"Reason for Leaving: The owner gave new meaning to the word 'paranoia.' I prefer to elaborate privately."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

100th Post

Not sure what to make of the 100th post. Seems like I should have some sort of prize for the first person to leave a comment on this milestone. Of course, having actual readers who might leave comments would be needed. (I have somewhere around 15 people or so who have actually acknowledged checking in from time to time; occasionally, the random comment from parts unknown).

After one year and 100 entries of drivel, what have I learned? What's it all mean? Can't we all get along?
  1. I'm busy. Too busy to "wax eloquent" like I hoped I might. Being thoughtful and thought-provoking is time consuming, and my time is consumed with other pieces of my life, the majority of which are more important.
  2. I can't be totally honest. I just can't. Some of it is who I am and the expectations of what I might say or might not say. If I were espousing a totally anonymous blog, that might be more likely, and then my readership of 15 or so loyal folks would diminish to those who "blog surf" or just happen to google something that brings my petty thoughts onto their search list. Truth of the matter is, I can't always say what I'm thinking (like, for instance, I want to go off on what a jerk Ron Artest Christian love, of course...)
  3. Sometimes, you get some great conversations going through this medium. Really, some of these thoughts have spilled over into verbal conversations with others that have been rewarding and life-enhancing. Hey, if we're not growing, we're either standing still or drifting backwards. We help each other along and help shape & develop each other's thoughts & worldviews. It's a good thing. This endeavor has aided that.
  4. Spammers are evil. I thought they had discovered every possible way to bug me. Then they went and spammed the blog comment boards. Are these people dialoging with Satan himself? (Of course, I did get some new ginseng vitamins from Tibet that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.)
  5. From time to time, when you express your opinion, people don't like it. Nothing real new here - been doing that verbally for some time. But I'm real comfortable with it. As long as I'm allowed to disagree with the opinions of others, too. Again, I think we all grow a little in these conversations.
  6. I sometimes sound angry. I'm not sure why. I seem to have a significant number of "beefs" to get off my chest. But if you looked up Blog in the dictionary, isn't that sort of what it means anyway (judging from some - not all - that I read?) I'm really not all that angry. Discontent at times? Sure. Unable to just let injustice go without mention? Absolutely. Think things could be better? You bet. But angry? Nah, I'm a little too laid back for that. (though this whole Brad & Angelina thing is getting me there...)

Oh, duty calls. I'm busy, remember? All I can think of for the moment. Probably more than is necessary, anyway. If you need me, I'll be busy rejecting all trade offers, all the while being unwilling to play for the team I'm on. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A More Excellent Way

Daniel is a hero of mine. No, not the new controversial TV show. The original guy, one of a few in history whose name adorns a book of the Bible. Not bad credentials.

Daniel was a teenager when he and countless other Jews were taken captive and marched across the desert to Babylon. Imagine a devout God-follower finding himself in a pagan city. How pagan? Worship there consisted of going into temples and sleeping with prostitutes. Imagine what the shady side of town must have been like!

But the Jews found themselves slaves in this sewer of a city. Daniel found himself in the dungeon of the palace, and yet managed to honor his God through a variety of circumstances (read the first 6 chapters of Daniel and see several examples).

Though his steadfast faith is impressive and encouraging to us all, its not the thing that impresses me most about Daniel. He was involved in the politics of day. He was an advisor to the king. In fact, on more than one occasion (dream interpretation, lions den briefing), the pagan kings he served acknowledged and even worshipped "the God of Daniel."

Funny, he didn't have any stronghanded lobbyists in his back pocket. There was no several-billion-dollars-a-year budget for any sort of "coalition" designed to get him or his buddies elected or selected to office. What was his approach? He was consistent in his love for God and his obedience to him*. And when opportunities to witness presented themselves, God worked powerfully.

Can we learn from Daniel? Certainly. He was involved in the culture (in this case, politics), and he helped shape it. We need people in the business of culture shaping. NOT culture brow-beating and guilt-tripping. But folks being salt & light at all levels of our communities.

Chuck Colson has a terrific piece in today's Christianity Today regarding Christians and their involvement in all things political. He calls it "A More Excellent Way: Changing The Law Isn't Enough." If you have a moment, which is all it will take, click over and read it.

*I realize that there are many out there who get the most notice in the media (and cast a cloud over the rest of us who are trying to live life the most excellent way) who justify their "bold" behavior as simply being obedient to Christ. That's an unfortunate reality. Perhaps if they got to know the heart of Christ more closely they might not just change their tactics, but also discover how thrilling it is to actually be effective and introduce people to Jesus!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Old Friend In The News...with Rod Parsley?

In college, I worked in the recruiting offices and travelled with various singing groups throughout the Midwest, trying to convince impressionable HS students to consider our small college. For a few of those years, my boss was a guy named Russell Johnson. I have all sorts of RJ stories. Legend has it (of course, never proven, but legend nonetheless) that he would promise kids the world to come to our school. "Oh, you like horses? We're planning to build stables some day." That sort of thing. My favorite part of the deal was travelling with Russell. On more than one occasion, I remember eating on his expense account. Sweet times.

So imagine my suprise when I see a blurb on my daily Christianity Today blurb that has none other than RJ and Rod Parsley in the same byline!

Seems the fellas are under attack for allowing a Christian who just happens to be running for office (Governor of Ohio, to be exact) to speak at their church, among other things.

I really don't care to express much of an opinion*. I like Russell, and I have friends and family that attend his church. Parsley scares me a little. But what's most interesting is what some in our country can get away with (Hillary, Rev. Jackson, Ray Nagin, Sharpton, et al), while others become front-page criticism (i.e. if you're caucasion, and you're a Christian, and a public figure, every action and word is monitored.... do we really think Jesse Jackson is preaching? He's promoting candidates and his agenda 24/7).

OK, I actually typed the numbers 24/7. Look out....I'm bound to cut loose a "fo shizzle" before you least expect it.

Here's the Parsley/Johnson article from the Dispatch. Go get 'em, Russell...

(*OK, I guess I do have some opinions...see the post above "A More Excellent Way.")

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Leadership at its Worst

I profess to being a leadership junkie. I suppose its because I'm not a great one, and want to be better. So I read, listen, and try to hang out when possible with those who lead well. Great leaders are inspiring.

But as inspiring as great leaders are, bad leaders make me nuts. Like most Americans, my heart broke for New Orleans and the entire gulf region. Plenty of blame to go around for why things happened they way they did in the Big Easy. Yes, Bush, Brown and others didn't spring into action liked we hoped, regardless of the fact that this was an unprecidented event in our history (we can hope that all will learn from past mistakes.)

If ever a leader needed to be replaced, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is the guy. How could you watch the hurricane coverage and listen to his babbling and not realize that he was the wrong leader for the wrong time? I gave him the benefit of the doubt. It was a horrific situation, he probably worked with little sleep, and maybe when a mic is shoved in your face under those circumstances, you say something in a way that you wish you could re-phrase.

But this past week, I couldn't believe what I heard from Nagin. Not only was he blaming God for sending the hurricanes (scoot over Pat Robertson et al, you've got a new friend), but his vision for a rebuilt New Orleans is one of a "chocolate" city. In case you missed it, those are his exact words.

No need to comment on the racist stupidity of Nagin's remarks. More interesting to note is that it wasn't front-page news. No scandal. No outrage. Buried in the "oh by the way" section at the back of the paper. And yet, for far less cutting "so-called" racist remarks, many of other races and even genders have been ridden out of town. I just don't get it.

Nagin needs a vacation. A really long one. Maybe there's a spot for him back at the cable company he once owned. Pray not just for the rebuilding of New Orleans, but for wise, non-corrupt leadership to emerge that uses the billions upon billions of federal and donated funds to make the region even better than before.

Here's an article with his actual words...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Letterman and the Colts

The Monday night Late Show after the Colts debacle with the Steelers was humorous. Letterman's opening monologue joke was "At least now I'm the second biggest dissappointment to come out of Indianapolis." Funny. He's had some sort of Colts take each night this week. In fact, tonight he has Mike Vanderjagt and Hunter Smith in studio, and they'll be kicking field goals in the street! Although I find that funny, and appreciate that Vandy doesn't take himself too seriously (like jumping off a building, etc), one can't help but hope he has limited time to talk. His track record isn't good for team unity and such. And let's also hope that he stays away from the hotel mini-bar. The upside is that Hunter Smith is with him, and will hopefully keep him in check. That is of course until he cashes his last Colts check, since free agency will probably take him elsewhere (though, if he were a real man, he would play for less next year to make up for the "wide right")...

Roaring Lambs V

It's not often that a story about missionaries is a major Hollywood release. End of the Spear hits theaters this Friday. I've been looking forward to this for awhile. The release commemorates the 50-year anniversary of a true story. In 1956, five missionaries dared to make contact with the most savage tribe in history, the Waodani, wo live deep in the Amazon basin of Ecuador. After an initial friendly contact their excitement quickly turned to fear, and all five men were killed.

Soon after, a wife of one of the slain men, and a sister of another, went to live with the Waodani. Within two years, the tribal homicide rate dropped more than 90 percent. This story was made famous by LIFE magazine and the book Through The Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot (wife of Jim, one of the slain missionaries).

End of the Spear is the story from the Waodani perspective. My hope is twofold: first, that these kinds of movies aren't used just as evangelistic events, but part of a process. If we can take a friend, or encourage them to go, and have conversation about it after, that's a good thing. Second, I hope the film does well, particularly week one. Many small films like this can take off if they show up in the top 5 or 10, or if word of mouth pushes the momentum. These kinds of stories get God in the conversation. I hope the Christian community will embrace & support these kinds of efforts.

Movie trailer can be seen at

Unfortunately, it is a small movie, and doesn't even show up on many sites "Upcoming Movies" lists. I'm hopeful that its well done and attracts attention, but more importantly, that it makes God famous ( Isaiah 26:8).

Here's an mp3 interview with Steve Saint. His dad was one of the missionaries that was speared. He later developed a close personal relationship with the Waodani that killed his father. Amazing story....Steve is very much involved in the film project, and serves as its off screen narrator.

Roaring Lambs IV

Though I haven't seen the new animated movie Hoodwinked, I know several who have. Reviews are mixed, but overall good. What's interesting to me is the back-story around the movie. Several Christians in the mix, hanging out with some big-names that did the voices. All in all, a respectable flick that did very well on its opening weekend (2nd to Glory Road). Many of the creators of Hoodwinked are grads of Anderson University. Very cool. Looking forward to seeing it soon. Does it compare to the Pixar & Disney stuff? Most critics say no. But for a small start-up studio, what should we expect? I'm sure its a few steps up from flannelgraph. Two good articles about the film...

I guess they had a free premiere last week here in Anderson. My friends who went to the free premiere didn't bother to let me in on the deal. Of course, these same friends don't take a family of 5 to the movies, and have no idea the economic impact on my very thin wallet. I promise, however, to see it and support Christians in the arts (after all, I saved all that money from NOT going to see Left Behind volumes 1-?). The next movie I'm planning to see? Check out the above entry...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

iBelieve I've Had Enough

You knew it was coming. A designer named Scott Wilson has figured out a way to "show your faith in a more fashionable way." He created a lanyard that transforms the iPod Shuffle into a crucifix. Nothing new...I've been telling people for years that my Sony Discman is symbolic of the stone that rolled away from the tomb!
Fortunately (or unfortunately for Wilson), I believe Apple has shelved the Shuffle.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Where Have I Been, Anyway?

OK, so I was gone for a while. Took a little "vacation" of sorts. Traveled in vans with 27 other people across the country to Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, TX. It's about a 9-day total experience, one that I've participated in around 15 times or so (I've lost count). This one was special because 4 of the 5 of my family went along. First time for Trevor, second time for Corbin. It was awesome, as it usually is. If you're unfamiliar, we go into poverty-striken neighborhoods and build houses. Not the typical "American" house. But typical for the other 95% of the world. That's part of the experience - learning that we literally have everything we could ever imagine yet still aren't content, and learning that people who have next to nothing are content. Here's the family we built for this time. Single mom raising 3 kids. I'm terrible with remembering names, but the little guy is Edgar, and the older, very shy son is Tony. They're standing in front of the finished product, a two-room, 11 x 22 house that we built in about 3 days - concrete floor, slab & stucco walls, solid roof. We attached this to their older, much smaller, 1-room house (made of pallets and covered with insulation), so now they have 3 rooms.

I don't know if you've done much of this sort of thing, but you should. Yeah, you'll change the lives of a family. But you'll benefit so much more. And so will the world.

(PS - Me and the fam are in the back left of the group photo...)

Let's Pull Out Now!

From someone named Robert Kaughman in the Decatur, IN newspaper...

"If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000. "The rate (deaths by shooting) in Washington, D.C. (among others) is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that your are about 25% more likely to get shot and killed in our nation's capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

"CONCLUSION: We should immediately pull out of Washington, D.C.!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Opportunity to Help

Back from a lengthy time away. More about that later.

Here's a blurb I received, along with a link with ways to help. This is huge, and an equally huge opportunity. Pass along to others.

Heavy snow to hit Pakistan earthquake victims Pakistan (MNN) -- More than two million survivors of the earthquake that hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan face even more trouble. Weather officials expect heavy snow as unusually cold weather tightens its grip across much of Asia. It could also cause problems for a team heading there from Strategic World Impact[1] . SWI's Kevin Turner. "They don't have winterized tents, no stoves for heat or cooking, children without winter clothing, literally children are standing in the snow without shoes." Turner says while Pakistan is predominately Muslim, he believes Christians can make a difference there. "They're absolutely flabbergasted when they see Christians are coming in to assist them. These people think well, '(they're) Americans; we're Muslims. They can't stand us.' And so, the fact that we can be in there gives us ample opportunity to proclaim the love of Christ physically and also proclaim it verbally because the Bible says, 'how shall they know unless they hear.'" Funding for relief supplies is needed. Go to our website to help.
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