Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fear Not The Compass

Once again, the Christian community has jumped on the bandwagon of encouraging you and I to avoid a movie. I find it rather annoying when we do this sort of thing. Somehow, we equate movie boycotts with changing the world for the better. But what really irks me is need to bash something that we haven't even seen for ourselves. Many did that with DaVinci Code, lots of far-right wingers do it with all things Harry Potter. And now The Golden Compass. You've probably gotten the emails warning and urging Christians to "run for the hills...there's a movie coming." So its probably not a new topic for most.

I won't get into the controversy, mostly because I haven't seen the movie and have little input to give (there's a novel idea). Yes, the author of the book is a very outspoken critic of Christianity and an equally outspoken Athiest. And apparently the later books in the series have some blatant attacks on the Christian faith.

But come on, is our God that we serve so small that we're scared of a little fantasy film? God is much bigger than that. Sure, we should use some caution. How about talking to our kids, if we see the movie with them, and highlighting some of the thinking that's there that might be contrary to our faith (those who have seen it have said this movie has little of that sort of thing in there....its just a movie). And yes, I'm aware that the movie might just get kids interested in the books. I hoped that might happen with the Narnia film, so I guess it works both ways.

Just sayin', perhaps we should catch it on video or at the cheap theater, see for ourselves, and then decide. Regardless, Christianity Today had a bit to add to the conversation, so check it out. The "Fear Not The Compass" tag is actually from them...not my original creation. Read the article and see the film for yourself (or not...)

Funny T-shirts

I admit, I'm a fan of funny T's. Not vulgar, objectionable, nasty, or Indiana University T's. But funny ones. Here are a couple I've come across of late. Granted, I'm too cheap to actually buy these, and they're a little much to begin with. But they're kinda funny nonetheless. This one on top is from the folks where you'll find lots of funny stuff.
Not sure where I got that one, but it provided a chuckle. Not everyone would get it...or find it funny. But hey, this is my blog to tell you what I think, right?

Really like this one a lot. The theme for this one was "Diversity." There is a website called Woot. No idea what it means, but once a day at they sell an item. Same item all day, until they run out. Shipping always $5. Kinda fun. But they started a woot.shirt deal, and the shirts are limited run, and designed by woot users as sort of a contest. Go there, look at the selections, and enjoy. Some are more "concept" designs that might leave you scratching your head. OK, so some do for me. But this one made me laugh, and I sorta wish I had it.....hint...I wear a 2X for comfort....

Last but not least, another Woot offering. This one is called "Nobody's Perfect." Wish I had thought of that as the title of this blog and used a logo like that. Well done....well, almost.

Monday, December 03, 2007

This Made Me Laugh

I guess there's a whole series of these blender-guy ads out there. The glow-stick one is pretty cool, too....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Derek Bell song on Grey's Anatomy

I've become quite a Derek Bell fan. He was one of the original members of a group called Caedmon's Call, but he's sort of been on his own for some time now. His music tends to fall more in the category of art than just catchy pop tunes. But its his lyrics that really set him apart. His album Mockingbird was just terrific, and I'm enjoying his new CD entitled The Ringing Bell. Apparently, one of his tunes made it onto last week's Grey's Anatomy, a show I have seen before but have sort of steered away from. But they play some good music from time to time. Click here to go to his myspace page and listen to a couple of songs. The song "Name" is the one in the TV show. Not sure if you can find it or not, but A Savior on Capital Hill is one of my current favorites. He has a way of cutting to the chase with his lyrics, and with this song, he pulls no punches (and probably doesn't win a lot of fans in certain circles). Check him out. Here's the lyrics to one of my favorite, to-the-point songs from Mockingbird, entitled "King & A Kingdom"

who's your brother, who's your sister
you just walked passed him
i think you missed her
as we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'cause we married in to a family of immigrants

(chorus)my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

(vs. 2)there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

(bridge)but nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one, sure as hell
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

Friday, November 09, 2007

Another Robertson for Rudy take

Jim Wallis from Soujourners had these thoughts on the Robertson for Rudy endorsement. My previous post eluded to this 'endorsement':

"Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president is simply astonishing. Robertson - the television preacher who founded the 700 Club and once ran for president himself - has made opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage his political north star and has been a relentless champion of traditional marriage and family values.

Remember Robertson's merciless attacks on President Bill Clinton's lapses of sexual morality with Monica Lewinsky? Or his comments about how the 9/11 attacks were the result of America's tolerance for homosexuals and abortion? Now Robertson isfor Rudy, a thrice-married adulterous husband, who is estranged from his own childrenand is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. According to Robertson's twisted moral logic, forgiving the social conservative shortcomings of Republicans is a Christian virtue, so long as the same virtue is never applied to Democrats. But Pat thinks Rudy can beat Hillary, and Pat really cares about winning for the Republicans.

What exactly goes on in Pat Robertson's head has puzzled many of us for a long time. This endorsement ranks as one of the most unprincipled in recent political memory. Maybe principles never mattered much to Pat Robertson after all. Perhaps the pro-business economic conservatism of the Republican Party was always more important to the televangelist than saving unborn lives. Robertson's long-standing support of murderous Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, and his diamond investments thanks to Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko speak louder than words when it comes to Robertson's ethic of life. And that's not to mention the more than $400 million Robertson's empire made when he sold his International Family Network to Rupert Murdoch, after building it on tax-deductible contributions of thousands of CBN donors, many of modest means. He has been putting profits over principles for years.

Richard Land, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, has taken a more consistent position. Land has clearly said that he won't support Giuliani if he becomes the Republican nominee, explaining in a recent Newsweek interview, "I'm not willing or able to violate my moral conscience. It would be like asking an African American to choose between Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, or asking Abe Lincoln to vote for a pro-slavery candidate. I personally can't do it." Land predicts that many social conservatives will just sit out this election if the Republicans decide to run Rudy. That's called standing for principle.

Pat Robertson clearly has taken another position. His endorsement of Rudy Giuliani will seem to many to be unprincipled hypocrisy."

Elections & Endorsements Oh My!

Got an email the other day from a good friend that directed me to a piece regarding the Robertson 'endorsement' of Rudy Guilliani. A portion of my reply below:

I guess it begs the question, why does anybody need to endorse anybody? If there are people out there (and there are) who are just sitting around waiting anxiously for who Robertson et al or any Christian talking head is going to “endorse,” aren’t we in more trouble than its worth? Who really cares who Robertson is endorsing, anyway? Looks to me like there’s no clear cut “perfect” candidate – they all have some baggage or something that someone isn’t going to like (some of these aforementioned 'Christian talking heads' aren't going to like ANY candidate, or at least can find something wrong with them all).

BTW, I’m still a believer that Jesus isn’t coming back on Air Force One. It’s not that I don’t care who the President is – in fact, I found myself “post-city election” caring a great deal that we’ve run off the mayor in the local election this week that actually made a difference in this town and elected some guy whose only obvious qualification is the "D" next to his name. What does he, or any candidate for US President, think about abortion? As I’ve said before, not sure it matters. (the only people that do seem to want it to matter are on the far right wing.... seems they tend to overlook all of the other injustices in our nation/world that the Bible speaks very clearly about and we focus on only this one issue.) We’ve enjoyed more Republican pro-life presidents in my lifetime than Democrats, and nothing has changed. Nothing. Sure, we fight for the right to put our token supreme court people in place. But nothing has changed. Instead, if we were focusing our efforts not on a) bashing candidates and/or other Christians, b) using the funds we spend to get Candidate X elected on something important and God ordained like, oh, maybe EVANGELISM, and c) getting about the business of actually making a difference in the country we live in and not just relying on government to always find the solutions that the Church already knows but isn’t doing…….then we might be onto something!

As always, just some random thoughts. I speak for no one but myself, so the views expressed here may or may not represent the views of management…

An Ethical Dillemma?

Are You Honest?

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. Please
scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.

You are in Florida , Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions.

You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive furor.

THE TEST: Suddenly you see a woman in the water. She is fighting for her life, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow the woman looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is. It's Hillary Clinton! At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take her under forever.

You have two options: You can save the life of Hillary Clinton or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most powerful and brilliant women.

THE QUESTION: Here's the question, and please give an honest answer....Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

(OK, so its kinda mean....but I admit I chuckled at the ending. Doesn't mean I wouldn't attempt to save. Just that the conclusion went somewhere I wasn't expecting...)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Relient K Does "The Office"

Audio isn't great, probably from a camera phone. But very cool. Relient K is a lot of fun, and they came up with a song about one of my fave shows....

Here are the lyrics since it's kinda hard to hear

Michael Scott, Pam & Jim
You've got me glued to my television
Angela, you're way to cute
To be messing around with someone like Dwight Schrute
Relient K and the Football Hall of Fame are in Canton
Won't someone please, transfer us to Scranton

We just minute and 57 seconds...of the show...

Touchdown Jesus Can't Even Watch

Apparently, at the end of the stadium complex at the mighty Notre Dame, there is a giant image of Jesus looking out over the stadium, and many have come to refer to it as Touchdown Jesus. The folks over at ESPN The Magazine have a couple of photoshop wizards on staff, and the last page of each issue always has a clever picture or artwork that summarizes some sort of "pop sports culture." In case you're not really following football all that much, Notre Dame is having an abysmal season, much to the delight of many fans who detest teams like ND, The Yankees, Carolina basketball, etc. So they altered the pic a bit, and it made me chuckle. So I humbly submit it to you for your own amusement and joy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Woman leaves Wall Street to teach convicts
Woman leaves Wall Street to teach convicts

Had a chance to hear Catherine Rohr at the Catalyst conference in early October. Was very impressed with her story, and this short MSNBC clip sums it up well. You can find out more about her unique approach to prison ministry at

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yoda stamp the post office does release today

Catchy headline from the MSN homepage. Expensive, stamps are. Free, email is. If it is the postage you seek, mail it you will.

J.K. and the Gay Character

I've never been one to bash the whole Harry Potter thing. Not planning to anytime soon. I know a few people who think its evil, yada yada yada. But I know a lot of folks who have read the entire series, and enjoyed the fantasy & adventure of a well-told story.

Recently, JK Rowling, the billionaire genius who wrote these books and is riding her broom all the way to the bank, told an audience somewhere that one of the main characters in the books (and movies) is gay. This never came out in any of the stories, but is only a concoction in her literary mind.

Well, its her story, and she can make the characters look, sound, and behave however she wants. That's what authors do. But isn't it odd that some 4 months or so after the release of the last book, she comes out with this little nugget of info that a casual reading of the books doesn't expose? Just seems a little pointless to bring it up anyway, but the timing is what strikes me most. Funny, she didn't bother to point that out earlier, like between, oh, say, books 3 and 4. When people are standing in line to buy each new book as it comes out and kids are pulling all-nighters to read & find out what happens next. No, lets keep that nugget a secret. After all, no need to discourage anyone from buying, right? No need to give those way out on the Christian right even more fuel for their fire, right?

Don't get me wrong. It wouldn't change the story line (and didn't), and she and the publishers would still be billionaires (they are). But why let the cat out of the bag now (or the Dumbledore out of the closet). Just odd, pointless, and a bit shady, me thinks.


Nothing else to say...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Despair Wear

These guys really make me laugh. I get regular emails with their new shirts and Demotivators designs. I particularly like this one that is pictured. See more of their odd type of humor here - make sure you check out some of the Demotivators posters. My favorites are Hope, Idiocy, Potential, Wishes, and Tradition. Fun stuff!

Steve Carrell on Monday Night Football

Junky Car Club

Heard about these guys recently, and think its a neat thing. Almost anyone can enter, depending upon what level you qualify. Basic free membership (it's all free) is the following:

1. You are wanting to live with less so you can give more and looking for ways to be more generous to those in need.

2. You care about the issues of poverty and social justice and want to bring awareness to these important issues.

There are other levels, which is where the older, paid-for car comes into play. I'm a member, though my car isn't exactly "junky" yet (it will be....I always get them there). It is at least 10 years old, etc. Check it out.....good guys and a good thing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Make your own Office Desktop!

Fun little thing. Just put the cursor on any of The Office characters, and you get a nice "motivational" poster to print or use as your desktop. Check it out here.

How 'Bout Them Buckeyes?

OK, so there are a lot of Buckeye faithful types in my family. Which is why this joke made me laugh that much harder.

Did you hear? Ohio State can make history this year! First team ever to win both the Big 10 and the MAC!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who Dey?

Saw this today...made me laugh...from Fox Sports.

OK, so maybe the Bengals don't make the playoffs. Look at the bright side: they can get those community service obligations out of the way a month early.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Deadly Viper Character Assassins

Seems like a weekly occurance that we hear about another leader who has blown it. Affairs, addictions, missteps. Truth is, most of us have the support systems & resources in place to help us avoid those pitfalls. But too few take full advantage of them. And when we least expect it, the Deadly Viper Character Assassins emerge from the shadows and take full advantage of us.

I started reading this little book and couldn't put it down. It's a little edgy (not your typical Christian Book fare) and gets to the heart of the issue of integrity, how to protect it, and what happens when we don't. Would be great to work through it with a partner or a group. Highly recommend you check it out. Written by Jud Wilhite, a pastor out in Vegas, and Mike Foster, founder of XXXChurch, a ministry that helps those struggling with addiction to pornography. Check them out at

How 'Bout Those Wildcats??

Really enjoying the college football season this year. Mostly because the Kentucky Wildcats are for real! Second time this season they're ranked in the top 10. Not sure if they've been in the top 10 in my lifetime, much less twice in a year! Very cool. Hoping to get tix and take the sons to a game, but thusfar they are out of my reach, and my network of connections to freebies seems to be non existent. At least the TV networks are showing the games. Watched the entire LSU game (almost 5 hours!), and plan to see the Florida game this Saturday....although, if tickets came my way, I would be heading to Lexington!!

Been A While...

OK, so I haven't been all that successful at getting to this wonderful medium since, oh, July or something. But I'm back! Here's a rundown of the past several months of things that matter...
  • Had a blast speaking for a week called Know Sweat, hosted by CIY on the campus of Milligan College in Johnson City, TN. Beautiful place, and met some nifty folks.
  • Had 2 separate weeks of vacation; one at a lake in north-central Indiana, one smack dab on the ocean on Emerald Isle, NC.
  • Enjoyed my son's marching band season.....they were the 2007 Indiana State Fair Band Day champions out of 50 bands. Very cool...actually, it was very hot - over 100 degrees that day...
  • Fortunate to get to attend one of my favorite events of the year called Catalyst just last week down in Atlanta, GA. Unbelievable music, challenge, worship, and fun. Good to reconnect with some old friends, too.
  • OK, so a lot more happened in between. But that is a recap. Its been busy, and I hope to wax eloquent more often.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chris Lizotte

A number of years ago, I had the privilege to take HS students to a summer conference in Kentucky, a yearly trek for our group for many years. It was and I'm sure still is a premier event that many kids look forward to each year (OK, and the lucky adults that get to go, too). One year, we were introduced to a new worship leader from California. Not only was he a little different from what we were used to, but so was his style of worship. I vaguely remember scratching my head for the first couple of days, wondering why this guy was invited. But then Wednesday came. Suddenly, something clicked, and for me and most of our group, we found ourselves in a somewhat mystical environment of worship. Up to that point, much of our "worship" during the morning sessions was happy-go-lucky, "If You're Happy And You Know It Bang Your Head" rock-band stuff. But this laid-back, ultra cool, I-don't-really-care-what-you-think-of-me guy named Chris just led us in a way that was unfamiliar. And it was good. In fact, it was revolutionary for my own personal growth, and I am glad to have intersected with Chris and his ministry.

It's been awhile since I've seen or heard much about Chris Lizotte. We still do several of his songs, as well as several that he introduced us to back in the day. I recently came across his webpage, and was glad to know that you can listen to a lot of his songs. His song "Brighter Day" is especially good. He's been hanging out and discipling a guy named Marc Ford, former guitar wizard for the Black Crows. Kinda cool story. So check out Chris, and listen to a coupla songs. He's unique, genuine, and talented. (And I don't think he fixes NBA games, sponsors dogfights, or uses steroids.) That's him with the beard; his wife (Christy, I think) in the pic. If you listen to "Brighter Day," Crystal Lewis is singing with Chris. Very cool (I believe they're brother & sister-in-laws).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Compare Bible Verses

Came across a site that allows you to see a particular verse or passage of Scripture in many different translations. Thought it was worth sharing. It's a Zondervan service, and you can access it yourself at Good for just looking up a verse that you're having trouble finding, or comparing the translation to multiple versions. Nice resource.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Where Would Jesus Live?

Came across this short article today and thought it worth spreading around. Here's a coupla quotes from the the rest by clicking here.

Prompted by the ubiquitous bracelets and bumper stickers, many Christians are asking (or being annoyed by) the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Thanks to the creative folks at the Evangelical Environmental Network, we’ve also been encouraged to ask, “What Would Jesus Drive?”

So here’s another pithy iteration to ponder:
“Where Would Jesus Live?”

If you’re like most Christians concerned about justice and peace, “the suburbs” would probably not appear in your answer. You might say the city, where Jesus could minister to the poor and the oppressed and walk downtown to preach to corrupt politicians. Or perhaps you think of the country, where he and his disciples could raise organic tomatoes and share their free-range chickens with the hungry. But Jesus in a split-level, mowing his lawn on Saturdays and waving to the neighbor kids on their trampoline? Hmmmmmm....

Check out the rest of the article. I found it rather insightful.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Faith is Always Personal, Never Private

Had the opportunity to hear Jim Wallis today in person. He did a workshop and spoke at the evening session of a conference in town today. In case you're unfamiliar with Wallis, he is the founder of Soujourners/Call to Renewal, and lives in the inner city of Washington DC. I've been interested in him for some time. He hearkens back to another era in the history of our country, when Christians made a difference in the world. For instance, the lead that evangelicals took in the abolishment of slavery in our country. Little stuff like that.

Today, however, he's a controversial lightening rod. Partly because he highlights the hard truths of Scripture. He isn't afraid to take on the likes of Dobson et al and their "take" that there are only 2 key moral issues facing us today: abortion & homosexuality. Not that those aren't key issues, but come on, the only issues? What about the thousands of references in scripture about the poor? What about the epidemic of slavery in our world, which is a bigger problem today than in the history of the world? There are a plethora of other concerns that Wallis brings to the front, including the environment, the AIDS pandemic in Africa, the genocide that's happening in places like Darfur (go ahead...quiz the typical Christian - where's Darfur, and what's going on there, anyway?). Wallis isn't afraid to say "hey, the Bible has a lot to say about these things too...maybe even more than the couple of issues that we somehow weave into every major political campaign.

Here are a couple of quotes from the day...
  • Transformation is not just a turning from, but a turning to

  • What does it mean to be different from the world and still transform it?

  • Our evangelism often answers a question that nobody else is asking.

  • Does the way you and I live raise questions?

  • The Hebrew mindset - truth isn't really truth until it affects the way we live

  • For most of us, we have to LIVE our way to a new way of THINKING. We assume we can THINK our way to a new kind of LIVING, and that seldom works.
Jim's book spent some time on the New York Times Best-Seller list. It's entitled "God's Politics - Why The Right Gets It Wrong & The Left Doesn't Get It" I plan to read it before the summer is over (I need to slow down reading for a bit...need to digest a little first!)

He also spoke at the large evening session, which you can find here. Scroll through some of the preliminary stuff to get to his talk.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Few More Books Under My Belt

It's been a flurry of reading activity. In fact, maybe too much to digest in so little time. Demolished 3 more in the past two weeks. Here's a brief glimpse of the three. PLEASE NOTE: Just because I read them does NOT mean I recommend you or anyone else rush out and read it too. I like to read a lot of variety at times, and my author choices are not for everyone. So....

This was an interesting read...I couldn't put it down. What does an outsider, particularly in this case an athiest, think about "church" as we know it? We spend so much time & energy hoping non-believers will come to our churches & check us out. But what do they walk away with when they come? Here's the description from Books-A-Million:

Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?

Light shows, fog machines, worship bands, and offering plates - is this what Jesus intended?

Atheist Matt Casper wants to know.

In 2006, Jim Henderson, veteran Christian and director of Off The Map, hired Casper to join him in visiting twelve of Americas best- and least-known churches, including Rick Warrens Saddleback and Joel Osteens Lakewood. Week after week, this spiritual odd couple attended services at churches all over the country and documented their experiences at and reactions to each one. Along the way, they found the real value of their journey in the open and authentic friendship that developed as
they talked, questioned, joked, and most importantlylistened.

Follow along with Jim and Casper on their visits, and eavesdrop as they discuss what they found. Jim and Caspers articulate, sometimes humorous, and always
insightful dialogue offers Christians a new view of an environment in which weve
become overly comfortable: the church. And it models an important transition
from defending the faith to defending the space"relational" space for authentic,
respectful dialogue and friendship with nonbelievers.

Another author that I've read before is Anne Lamott. Her Traveling Mercies - Some Thoughts On Faith is a favorite of mine. She's known for her honest approach to life and faith. The book I read is called Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Anne is NOT for everyone. Her language is often salty, and that may very well keep many readers from catching the meaning of her articles. She also isn't a big fan of W, and she doesn't hide that at all. I don't like everything she says, but she has a unique perspective.

Lastly, I've been trying to get to Steve Saint's End of the Spear for some time. I finally dove in, and it was also very good. Steve's dad Nate was one of the 5 missionaries killed by Aucas in the Ecuadorean rain forest over 50 years ago. I heard Steve speak a couple of months ago, and got to speak with him briefly. Very much enjoyed the book, and if you're looking for a challenging book that really makes you think about the world, God's love for all of us, and our answer to God's call on our lives, this one is worth your time. I mentioned Steve in a post awhile back, and you can find it easily by scrolling back to April or May...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Books From Last Week

Spent the week at the beach last week (Emerald Isle, NC). Beautiful place. Managed to plow through a couple of books, all of which were good reads. All for very different reasons! Books I read include:
  1. In The Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham. Martin & Gracia Burnham were missionaries in the Philippines. They were abducted along with several others while enjoying their anniversary at a resort. Their captors were the Abu Sayef, a branch of Al Quieda that has training camps & wrecks havoc in the Philippine jungle. Gracia survived the one year of captivity; Martin was killed during the rescue attempt. Amazing story, highly recommendable!

  2. Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels. Actually heard this message a couple of years ago, and I think the audio message might be just as good if not better than the book (certainly shorter!) The whole notion of the book centers on the defining moment that spurs people to do something. We all have that Popeye moment - "I've had alls I can stands and I can't stands no more." But do we act? How do we identify our personal areas of holy discontent, feed it, fight it & follow it? Very good stuff. I think you can get the audio message, too. If you do, the following session with Rick Warren is sort of a follow-up to Hybels message, and a terrific one-two punch. You should be able to get these two sessions here. Good book, though!

  3. 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is # 37) by Bernard Goldberg. OK, so this is sort of off the charts for my usual reading. I remember looking at this when it came out, and thought it was funny. Was ordering something from Amazon a few weeks back, and needed a bargain book for a couple of bucks to get me over the threshhold for free shipping. This showed up, and it was kinda fun. Didn't know a lot of the names, but understand why they're listed. Here's a quote from the intro of the book: "And it won't take you long to notice that there are a lot of liberals on the list, which, of course, is just how it ought to be. If I were compining the list years ago, say, when I was in college, there'd be a lot of conservatives on it. But this isn't years ago, and besides, I'm smarter now than I was back then..." So you can see a little tongue in cheek, but it was interesting.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Minister's Death Hits Close To Home

I only met Mark Angel a couple of times. We bumped into each other at a couple of youth conference type events. We didn't know each other well, and I'm not sure he would have remembered my name. But I knew at least who he was. So when I heard of his tragic death, I was immediately saddened. For him, his family, and his church.

Mark was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on a mission trip, just south of Brownsville Texas in Mexico. He and two others got caught in an undertow, and Mark didn't make it. I can't imagine the heartache the church and family is experiencing. I think of all the many adventures, crazy stuff, et al that I've been involved in (not to mention the many things situations I've put many, many people in), and the good fortune we've had that little has gone wrong. Nothing more than a minor trip to the doc-in-the-box or the ER. Nothing serious. And nothing like Mark's group of college kids on a mission trip to Mexico.

What I do know of Mark, he was a tremendous servant of God, and he will be missed. A short article from the Ashland, KY newspaper can be read here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Virgie Skinner 1911-2007

Last Sunday, my mom called to update me on the status of my grandmother. She has lived in an apartment attached to my parent's home (part of her apartment was my old bedroom growing up) for the past 10 or so years. For the past several years, her health slowly deteriorating, my parents (and sister and bro-in-law) did an amazing job of taking care of her. In the last little bit, that had become almost a 24-7 task for my mother. Anyway, two weeks ago, after a stint in the hospital, it was determined that she probably had liver cancer. Perhaps for some time. The prospect of any significant recovery for anyone wasn't good, much less for a 96-year old. Deep down, we knew what was inevitable.

My Mom seemed to know even more. Her phone call on Sunday was to let me know that if I wanted to have one last moment with my grandma, I should consider coming home soon. I was already planning a surprise Mother's Day trip, but after hanging up the phone, felt compelled to gather some clothes and go right then.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I did. I had the blessing of chatting with my grandma Skinner that evening and off an on Monday. But without a lot of detail, suffice it to say that things happened quickly. We called the ambulance at around noon Monday, and she passed away Tuesday morning at around 1:30 am.

My grandma's mind was sharp all along. While being wheeled out of the house by the ambulance crew, while gasping for oxygen, she had the wherewithall to remind my mom to grab a sweater, reminding her that she was cold last time in the hospital. She was a model mother right up to the end.

While in the ER, during a moment when she was quiet and still, she looked right at me and asked out of the blue if "that girl of mine was still sewing" (grandma was quite the seamstress and made tons of quilts, afghans, and the like - they had purchased my 10-year old daughter a sewing machine for Christmas, and had helped her create an outfit, purse, etc). A little later, as though she was building up the energy for another sentence, she looked at me and said "let's make sure she learns to crochet." I didn't understand much more of what she had to say, though looking back some of her efforts to communicate make perfect sense.

I have many memories of my Mammaw Skinner. Going to her house was always an adventure. As a kid, when we missed school because of snow (often a week at a time in KY), I spent enough time there to get hooked on soap operas, and get my fair share of Bob Barker and other daytime shows. I remember the hours I spent mowing her lawn, always for a fair wage. I always appreciated the simplicity of her life. Not that it wasn't complicated. But she lived simply. Family was her most important possession, and I am blessed to have been a part of that. (One of my favorite stories was from the early 90's when my wife and I lived in Ohio. They were visiting with us, and we were having lunch at a Red Lobster. She opened her napkin to get the silverware out, and said "Law, they gave me two forks." She didn't get out much to places like that, and it was one of the things about her that I found so endearing. That stuff didn't seem to matter much to her.) Her deep concern for family is perhaps the best lesson I could have possibly learned. It's part of her legacy. It's part of who I am. And for that I'll be forever grateful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Steve Saint Seminar

Last Wednesday, I took advantage of a day-long seminar with Steve Saint. Steve is the son of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries that lost their lives some 50 years ago in the jungle of Ecuador to the Auca Indians. If you don't know Steve's story, how he essentially grew up there and befriended, along with his family, the same people that took his father's life - it's a remarkable story. There are plenty of summaries online, or you can check out the book "End of the Spear", which was also a major motion picture a few months back. Picture at the left is Steve working at i-tec, the company he founded that helps indigenous people build airplanes, dental equipment, etc. Some to be used in indigenous areas, some to help stimulate an economy in places where there is none. Rather fascinating.....

It was falso ascinating to listen to Steve's stories and insights. A few that he shared:

"Christ gave the Great Commission to the church - that's our purpose. The purpose of missions is to establish churches where there are none, so the church can continue to do the Great Commission.

"If you don't have kids, they probably won't either...."

"The Church may not be perfect, but nonetheless its the organism through which Christ has chosen to reach the world."

"Evangelism is a relay race, not a marathon" (nor is it a sprint...) "Unless the baton is handed off, the relay ends" (Steve compared this to what has happened in England, the very country from whom the Gospel was exported to us...the baton ceased to be passed, and now only 4% claim to be evangelical Christians in Great Britain)


A classic from Heywood Banks. Best tribute song ever!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus Suspension

I'm not much a follower of Don Imus. Couldn't find him on my radio if I tried. One of the monitors at the YMCA sometimes has his MSNBC show, which is essentially his radio show being shown live on TV. Anyway, he said some stupid things. And he has apologized. There are those who are protesting, demanding he be fired. Though I do think the comments he made were wrong and way over the top, he has gone out of his way to apologize and repent of his words.

I've always sort of been a "benefit of the doubt" kinda guy. Right or wrong, its where I land. I tend to give anyone who's acting out or saying something rude or unkind that benefit of the doubt. Sometimes you just don't think before you speak. Sometimes, you're just moody or cranky and you inadvertantly say something you shouldn't or don't normally say, or you say it with a certain tone that just changes the whole meaning. I also believe second chances are good things. We've all had them. Truth be told, we've all had many more than just 2, haven't we?

This is radio "shock jock." (he's been called that....I just thought he was a folksy kinda guy who happened to have one of those radio voices and made a career out of it...) He doesn't have a track record of racism or bigotry, and I don't think this one circumstance should make him a card-carrying member of that group. So if he needs to be suspended, fine. I'm not sure that's necessary either, but fine. But the guy has learned a valuable lesson. Let him back on the air to help the many who apparently do listen to his show come to learn those lessons from him.

In the mean time, what can we do to get Sharpton & Jackson off the air? And BTW, what little I've heard from Howard can THAT guy not be suspended??

Friday, April 06, 2007

A New Era Begins

The Kentucky Wildcats have had 6 coaches since the 1930's. They don't put just anybody on that sideline. Today, they added another in that small fraternity. Billy Gillespie, who just had a ton of success at both UTEP (more on that irony in a minute) and Texas A & M. Some of us were hoping for the "other Billy," but after watching the press conference, seems like a pretty sharp guy. His record speaks for itself. Hey, as long as he can beat Louisville & IU each year, its all good!

As for irony, UTEP was once Texas Western. The movie "Glory Road" depicted the true story of their basketball team, all of whom were black, who went on to beat the Adolph Rupp-coached Wildcats, all of whom were very white, in the national championship game. That was an imporant game in the history of sports, in a Jackie Robinson kind of way. Fast forward a bunch of years later, and you've got a coach who has had the reigns at both programs. Just interesting, that's all.

As for Big Blue Nation, just an amazing amount of passion for all things Kentucky Basketball. This guy flys in last night from Texas, has a marathon interview session late into the night, and in a matter of hours there is a huge pep rally, with the band & everything, just to announce that he's the next head coach! Memorial Colisseum was full! Look at the size of the crowd in this picture! The press conference that followed was attended by many former players, and even former coach Joe B Hall was in the crowd! That kind of thing doesn't happen anywhere else in America. Very can see the pep rally here. You can also listen to or watch the press conference, too. Just unbelievable. A week after the NCAA tourney, where your team bows out early and you later see the departure of your coach and basketball should start moving to the back of your mind, and just like that - a pep rally just to introduce your new coach! (Oh, and you can already get the Billy Gillespie wallpaper for your computer). Now that's passion.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Global Warming?

I'll admit to knowing very little about the whole Global Warming thing. I'll also admit that those you listen to most in the media will very much slant your opinion. For instance, listen to conservative talk radio, and you will be convinced that all of this to-do about the environment is a bunch of hooey. I've also noticed that the more conservative you are, the nastier you become with the name calling and pious discrediting of anyone speaking out about the environment (all sorts of Al Gore slams, tree hugger references, etc.) If you're outspoken about the environment, you're automatically labeled as an aforementioned tree hugger, and somewhere the label "liberal commie" us undoubtedly used.

Well, can't we all get along? Seems to me there is a happy medium here somewhere. I am tired of Christians simply following the "loud" voices out there of Rush and other blowhards who are misquoting and taking Scripture out of context to suit their "the sky certainly isn't falling" theories, while ignoring the Biblical evidence that this earth is ours to steward appropriately.

Here are a few quotes and soundbites that I came across today that I thought were thought-provoking and somewhat humorous...on both sides of the ozone (so to speak).
  1. conservative radio host from Cincy named Bill Cunningham in a promo for his afternoon show, commenting on the drastic cold snap that has swept into the region - "Today we'll talk about whether this 50-degree drop in temperature is even more evidence of global warming." He, of course, is in the "hooey" camp.

  2. "71% of the population believes in global warming while the other 29% are still trying to resolve the 'earth is flat' debate" - ad in Outside magazine for a company called simpleshoes, who make shoes out of recycled tires (the April issue is the Green Issue, with lots of environment stuff)...

  3. Chip Giller of quoted in Outside mag...I think this quote is also on a Starbucks cup..."So-called 'global warming' is just a secret plot by wacko tree huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don't let them get away with it!" Very funny!

Post # 200

I thought that an occasion this momentous deserved a fresh start. So for the ever diminishing handful of you who happen by, you'll notice a new look. I'm not smart enough to design some cool look, so I'm captive to the free templates that the fine folks at Blogger have to offer. But I liked the look here, it seems to give more space to some of the "frills" with which I am experimenting, and its fresh. At least to me! So enjoy the blueness.

David Crowder Video

This week, the David Crowder Band video is featured over on MSN. Check out the video and be sure to vote for Crowder. No idea what the voting thing means, and its obvious that hords of Crowder fans (or is it a pack of rabid squirrels?) (NOTE: Voting is over, but you can still watch the video.) have frequented and given lots of love. In fact, the tag on the picture says 2006 Artist of the Year. If you've followed Crowder much, you may 'get' some of the video images. If not, its a cool song with animated video featuring some squirrels who seemingly become Crowder fans! Its fun...he's absolutely the best thing going in Christian music right now. Check it out! (Go there, click on the band's photo, and it will start soon thereafter).

Passion Featured on Christianity Today

Passion is the cover feature for the April Christianity Today. Very good article highlighting "the most influential annual gathering of young evangelicals" and its plans to go global.

In case you're unfamiliar, a brief overview of the Passion movement. Louie Giglio founded it a number of years ago to mainly focus toward Christian students on college campuses and mobilize them to influence their campus and their world. In the process, several cutting-edge worship leaders emerged from the group, including Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Charlie Hall, and others who have associated themselves with Passion, including Matt Redman, Shane & Shane and others. Not to mention a number of powerhouse teachers including John Piper, Beth Moore and others. You can find out more info at the Passion website. Read the very interesting CT article; there are a ton of links at the end of the article for some terrific resources you can check out, too.

I love the heart of these folks, and their desire to "make God famous", based on their foundational verse Isaiah 26:8 "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."

Easter Quotes

Several thought-stirring quotes regarding Easter week at Christianity Today. Check them out. Here are a couple that struck a chord with me - read more here.

"FOLLOWING JESUS doesn't get us where we want to go. It gets us to where Jesus goes, where we meet him in Resurrection surprise: "My Lord and my God!"
-Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way

"SOCRATES mastered the art of dying; Christ overcame death as "the last enemy" (1 Cor. 15:26). There is a real difference between the two things; the one is within the scope of human possibilities, the other means resurrection. It is not from ars moriendi, the art of dying, but from the resurrection of Christ that a new and purifying wind can blow through our present world. … If a few people really believed that and acted on it in their daily lives, a great deal would be changed. To live in the light of the Resurrection—that is what Easter means."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big Butter Jesus by Heywood Banks

Song by Heywood about this giant statue of Jesus that looks like its made from butter (some locals say it looks like cheese...they call it Cheesus) IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, first of all, life is too short, so lighten up. But don't watch this if even the title of the song bugs you...this is awfully funny!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Flipant Prayer?

Every wonder if our prayers can be too casual or flipant? Does God care? Does he listen to the honest casual prayer just like he listens to the carefully thought out prayer? Tony Jones has an interesting article in Christianity Today entitled "Prayer Beyond Father Weejus." It's worth a look...

"Father, weejus come to you today....."

Bunny Humor

~ Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
~ Walk softly and carry a big carrot.
~ Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
~ All work and no play can make you a basket case.
~ Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
~ Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
~ Keep your paws off other people's jellybeans.
~ The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
~ An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare.
~ To show your true colors you have to come out of your shell.
~ The best things in life are still sweet and gooey!
Good Idea: Finding Easter eggs on Easter.
Bad Idea: Finding Easter eggs on Christmas.

(Thanks to Mikey's Funnies...check them out & sign up for his daily funny at

Leadership Network

I'm a big fan of the Leadership Network. They have a tremendous amount of resources, particularly the books they produce. Thought I would promote them a little, and I'll add their book blog to my blog list. You can see it here.... lots of links to authors, etc. in the blog itself!


It's been over a month since my last post. A lot has happened, not too mention a "significant" birthday. It hit me right between the eyes at the gym. I do go fairly often, but to glance at my portly countenance one would wonder if I knew what a treadmill even looks like!

Regardless, I know my way around the cardio room. Most of the machines ask you to enter some info about yourself in order, I suppose, to monitor your heart rate and adjust your workout accordingly. I suppose when I could no longer put "39" in when asked about my age - it kicked in!

So in March of 2007, I did turn 40. I'm still wondering what that really means, and how to best take advantage of the next 40. Learning from mistakes & shortcomings to be who God wants me to be - a better husband, father, and servant.

I don't want to spend too much time wondering how I would do the last 20 years differently... no sense in beating myself up too much!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Love Your Neighbor?

We're to love our neighbor, aren't we? Plenty has been written and proposed about what that really means. About who our neighbor really is, and just what does it mean to love? There are a variety of ways to go after that idea, and that's fine. But we know what its not, don't we? We can easily spot when "loving our neighbor" is kicked to the curb. Problem is, we can expect that from many in our world who don't know any better.

But Christians should know better, shouldn't they? The only thing more troubling than this story is that fact that it made the news. What's wrong with people??

Sunday, February 18, 2007

People Should Matter

This is an unbelievable story from today's AP....What's even more disturbing is that although the gravity of the situation might not always be this extreme, there are people who live their lives just like this unfortunate guy - alone, void of any sort of community with others. Tragic....

Man's body found 1 year after death
Television was still on, authorities say; body partially mummified
The Associated Press
Updated: 1:06 p.m. ET Feb 17, 2007

HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. - The partially mummified body of a man dead for more than a year has been found in a chair in front of his television, which was still on, authorities said.

Vincenzo Ricardo, 70, apparently died of natural causes, said Dr. Stuart Dawson, Suffolk County’s deputy chief medical examiner.

Police found Ricardo’s body this week when they investigated a report of burst pipes.
The home’s dry air had preserved his features, morgue assistant Jeff Bacchus said.
“You could see his face. He still had hair on his head,” Bacchus said.

Ricardo’s wife died years ago, and he lived alone, Dawson said.
“He hasn’t been heard from in over a year. That’s the part that baffles me,” he said. “Nobody sounded the alarm.”

Neighbors said they had thought Ricardo was in a hospital or nursing home.
“We never thought to check on him,” said neighbor Diane Devon.
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Blizzards, Puzzles & Relaxation

Life here is beginning to get back to normal. Amazing what 14 or so inches of snow can do to a city that's not quite 'north enough' to expect lots of snowfall. For a good 48 hours, the hectic nature of our lives was brought to a screeching halt.

Pardon my contrarian way of looking at this, but isn't that a good thing? To occasionally cancel just about everything and stay home with our families and just hang out? Sleeping in is a good thing. Lounging about in comfy clothes that most of us wouldn't be seen in public wearing is quite refreshing. We worked a puzzle that took a couple of days - it was a puzzle from the TV show LOST, a family favorite. Perhaps the hardest puzzle I've ever worked (there was no picture on the box to follow!) But it was fun, we all took our turns, and it was a thrill to put that last piece in place.

So, unfortunately, life is getting back to normal. But does it have to? Can't we redefine normal? How liberating it would be if 'normal' looked a lot like the last few days, and our hectic schedules were a thing of the past. Or at least not our 'default settings.'

Gordon MacDonald says that "Rest was not meant to be a luxury, but a necessity." One of my personal goals, as well as for my family, is that we would clear the clutter and experience a weekly Sabbath rest. I believe God designed us that way (Genesis 2:2-3). And I wonder if every now and then, he might just unleash a 14-inch snow dump that shuts us down for a bit. For many of us, a "forced sabbath" is often the only sabbath we get...

(Oh, here's a gigantic snowman my kids made, right in the back window of our house! This was from a big snow a few weeks back, and this dude was staring into our house for weeks! This snowstorm brought much more of the white stuff, and they made some cool tunnels & air soft forts...)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Our "Big Game Bash" Parties

Here are a couple of pics from the two parties we hosted. We were planning one giant blowout with a 16-foot screen, but we quickly retooled our plans to fit within the suggested guidelines from the NFL, CBS, the apparent copyright laws, and Oprah (OK, I don't think Oprah was involved, though I think she owns most everything....the promo with her and Letterman during the "big game" was one of my favorite of the night!)

We hosted our parties for those in our community from 4 homeless shelters. We split the locations in at our place, another at the Christian Center Rescue Ministry. And we kept the screens at regulation size. Oh, and the good guys won! A couple pics......

This first pic is from the Christian Center dining room. We got there early to set up the tech stuff, decorate, and essentially roll out the red carpet. Many of those who attended were either residents of the shelter, or folks that visit there for a hot meal. Had a good mix of both Bears and Colts fans.

This is a glimpse of the scene at our place. We decked it out very cool. We were planning the 16-foot screen for this room, but instead went with the regulation 55-inch image. Small, but we made it work. Very cool event, and something that I hope we'll do annually. And perhaps we can find a resolution with the powers that be to let us do one big event in the future!

Church Super Bowl Parties Sacked by NFL

You undoubtedly heard the uproar last week regarding the NFL "coming down on churches and their Super Bowl parties." Well, at least that's how it was reported. Truth is, it all started with one church that 1) promoted an admission fee (although is was more of a 'we're getting pizza, and you can chip in if you want'), 2) planned to promote the image larger than the mandated 55 inches (they planned to go with a 12-foot screen), and 3) created their own logo that included the words Super Bowl. OK, so all of that was a no-no. #'s 1 and 3 are easy to just not do - and the church said as much. However, the screen size issue was the final back-breaker, since it's kinda hard to have 100 to 200 people and not have a screen of some size. I suppose another issue was combining their copyrighted event with some sort of "video testimony" or some other message. So instead of watching a video about NFL players who are Christians, they want us watching Prince and the newest Bud Light commercial. I guess I do understand that at least a little, not that I like it at all. I guess their "product" can be attached to any other kind of message or propoganda other than what churches might provide (Amway, Tupperware, KKK, etc.)

This has been labeled so many ways..."The NFL cracking down on churches"..."The Evil One wins a victory against the church", etc. Really? Sounds like the NFL just pointed out to one church (it was pretty easy to see their new logo & all their details on their website, or we would never have known), that they were in violation of a federal copyright law. Somehow, that story was leaked to the Indy Star, which got it on the evening news, which caused all sorts of uproar here in central Indiana (I'm curious to know if this was an issue anywhere but here, since the national media didn't really give it much attention). Truth is, those of us who have had Super Bowl, er, Big Game Bashes for the past buncha years (how long has the S.B. been around??), well, we've been in violation of copyright law. Every time we've done it, though we had no clue, no one was hurt, and a good time was had by all.

What should our response be? First, we should obey the law. Of course, there will be those (I'll call them "boneheads" who give all Christians a bad name) who see this as a chance to "stand up for what is right" and do their event anyway. Really? Stand up for what is right? Teach the impressionable youth you're trying to reach that if a law doesn't suit your fancy, no problem. Just ignore it! Aren't our prisons overflowing with folks who live by this philosophy? Nice going.

But I don't think we should avoid some discussion. I do think there are some solutions that can be found that wouldn't harm the product the NFL has with CBS (or whomever), would fit w/in the guidelines of the law, and would allow us to build this cultural phenomenon into a ministry event. So let's talk to the NFL, to our lawmakers, to the folks at CBS, etc., and try to find some common ground. All of this talk about a victory for Satan? Let's cut that out. I didn't hear anyone taking away our religious freedom or forcing us to stop praying, meeting, worship, etc. Whatever the response from Christians, I hope we're taking the opportunity to be salt & light in this conversation.

All that said, this cartoon made me laugh from the Indy Star. Also, see the previous post for a couple of pics from our retooled, sized-down, Big Game Bash party that fit within the stipulations that were so public the last several days.

Picture Worth a Thousand Words

This pic was apparently taken after the game. Word is, the team says the Lord's Prayer together after games. Pretty cool. I'm not a big fan of the "God helped us win" lingo that you sometimes hear from some athletes. But I think Dungy uses the platform of fame & recognition very well to put the fame on God, not on himself. Just a terrific person and example.

Thomas Merton quote

"If you want to identify me ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the things I want to live for. Between those two answers you can determine the identity of any person." -Thomas Merton The Man in the Sycamore Tree

Friday, February 02, 2007

The NFL - No Fun League

HDTV Receiver for the big game - $200

Renting a big projection screen - $100

HDTV antenna - $40

Pizza for 70-80 homeless - $250

Pop, chips, cookies, etc. - $200

The NFL sacking the plans of churches nationwide and not letting them show the game on a screen big enough for more than about 15 people and not allowing more than one screen in the building and generally flexing its "Nielsen Ratings" muscle and creating a PR nightmare for itself: PRICELESS...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Made Me Laugh

Came across this picture. This whole "evangelical" thing is pretty confusing. There are some I don't mind being "lumped in" with; others, I would rather not be all that affiliated. It's a confusing nametag. Maybe if a device like this existed, it would be a less perplexing world.

got rich kids?

I came across this campaign from the folks at Geez Magazine, which admittedly was new to me but immediately interesting. I don't know if the campaing is legit or just a funny idea, but its intriguing and might just work. Basically, its a parody on child adoption. You submit the names of rich kids (which is, roughly, the average North American), and they are "adopted" by "an appropriate sponsor family from the other side of the disparity divide," either here or in other parts of the world. The sponsor family helps their "sponsored rich kid" understand what life is like on the other side, prays for them, and shares first-hand how the consumer-driven economic system affects them. Check it out and peek around a little at the Geez website. Click "child sponsorship" to check out the campaign...

One interesting entry at Geez is entitled "Jesus Was A Fatty" - it's also particularly interesting, though not related to the above "Make Affluence History" campaign (which is a clever title in and of itself...)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Live from the AFC Championship Game

The email was simple. "If New England beats San Diego, it's a Colts home game. I need people to work our concession booth." I thought about it for a day or so....working the booth meant not getting to see the entire game from the comfort of my couch. But working meant I would be 'in the building' for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The mania of the pre- and post-game crowd seemed like a fun idea. After all, affording the $ for tickets wasn't in my destiny, and all of my efforts to win tickets had fallen flat. So I replied with a hearty "yes," with visions of nacho trays, brats, hotdogs, and beverages dancing in my head.

So along with 12 or so volunteers from the Highland High School band, I donned the apron & visor and spent the better part of Sunday afternoon & evening in Booth 114 on the lower level of the RCA Dome. From the 6-block walk in to the opening of the gates at 4:30, you could feel the buzz in the city. Tailgaters, Colts jerseys everywhere, even a guy wearing no shirt who painted himself completely blue. There were a few New England fans that happened our way - all very nice people. But they were few - most everyone had on any combination of blue & white, and perhaps more Colts jerseys than have ever been assembled in one place.

As the game progressed, to say there was tension in the building would be an understatement. The home team was down, key mistakes had been made, and you could sort of feel the air slowing leaving the dome. From my vantage point, I was able to keep up with much of the action, though I didn't get to see every play. I did venture up the steps to take a peek, just in time to see, right in front of me, a Colts touchdown and a 2-point conversion. Very cool. Until the very next play, when the Patriots ran a kickoff return some 80 yards...

The most memorable minute for me was at the end. I'm sure every Colts fan has a story about that minute to 90 seconds. We were huddled around a monitor and witnessed the pass that popped up from the receivers arms...and right back into them. Whew.... I removed the aforementioned visor & apron and headed for Section 112, which opens up right at about the 10 yard line, where the Colts were marching. To say that the next few moments were euphoric would be an understatement. The TD and point after gives them a 4 point lead. Brady would need a TD to win.

The next couple of plays, as the Patriots began their short-lived march down the field, were some of the loudest moments of my life. I slid into a spot that was open, next to a bunch of total strangers. All of us on our feet, cheering & clapping, joining the 57,000 others. I thought the go-ahead touchdown was loud. I thought the noise was more intense than ever when Brady & Co. were trying to run plays to win the game. But I have never heard anything quite like the noise level when the interception happened, and the remaining few moments to run out the clock. I high-fived all of the people around me. I even hugged a total stranger. It just seemed normal, as did the people all around who were streaming tears of joy.

The next 90 minutes or so were sort of a blur. We had more to do to close down the stand completely, but the crowd stayed around for the awards ceremony. The masses were leaving about the same time we walked out. It was crazy, but civilized. Just fun, and thankfulness that you were a part of it all. Nothing happening that mirrored the ugliness that sometimes happens after these sorts of things. The six block walk back to the car was filled with honking horns, people dancing & shouting, hanging out car windows and waving those 'We're #1' foam fingers.

Unbelievable. Would I work the concession stand again during an AFC Championship Game? You better believe it. In fact, I've already volunteered for next year!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Read This Blog

Read this....

(If you get to the comments, the nuclear engineer is fairly interesting....)