Thursday, January 31, 2008

Obama Interview

Christianity Today has an interview with Democratic Presidential Candiate Barak Obama. I know for some of you, that is an oxymoron to have him or anyone with a (D) next to their name in Christianity anything. I know because I get the emails, particularly about Obama, extolling his so-called affiliation with Islam. I know because well-intentioned people who believe everything that's forwarded 57 times and lands in their inbox come strutting in to the church copier to mass distribute the email to everyone in their Sunday School class. (They also believe that Bill Gates is going to let them in on part of his fortune if they just forward that email to 29 of their closest friends, and some have probably given their bank account numbers to an exiled queen in Nigeria because she wanted to deposit 25 million into their bank account.) NEVER MIND THAT THE ENTIRE THING IS UNTRUE! Man, are we really that dumb to not look into things like that before taking them as gospel? In the mean time, here's a guy who seems to be a little plugged in the The Gospel, and he's thrown under the bus by most because a) there's a D next to his name, b) bogus emails say he's a Muslim, and c) we don't care much for his stance on abortion.

When is the last time we had someone in office whose stance on abortion was in line with "all things evangelical" and who, oh, I don't know.... managed to do something about it? I don't particularly agree with everything that any of these remaining candidates think or believe, but I think its time Christians start looking past the 2 pet issues we always put at the top of the list: abortion & gay marriage, and start looking at the scads & scads of Biblical mandates that we're ignoring and just voting for whomever Dobson or Schaffly or Wildmon tell us to vote for. Who knows, perhaps changing the culture in which we live might just change the mind of someone who is making a decision about the future of their unborn baby. (But that's another topic...Obama hits that indirectly in the Abortion question in the interview)

Having said that, I am in NO WAY endorsing Obama. Just thought the interview was worth passing along. Draw whatever conclusions you want to draw about him.

(Me? I'm writing in Jesus for president this time around!)

Cheese, anyone?

OK, so you have to think a little to find the humor/irony/point in this cartoon. But its there, nonetheless. Not sure where I got this, but its a guy who comes up with daily/weekly cartoons that are kinda different. If I can remember his name, I'll post a link to his site. Just in case the above compilation of cheese makes you curious. The "Worship Music" above is in reference to the new, modern stuff coming out that may seem like, well, cheese. Interesting...whether you agree or not!

Traffic Buster

Can you imagine seeing the cars get out of this guy's way??

Step 1: tie balloons to car
Step 2: drive eratically
Step 3: watch people freak out
Step 4: call Jack Baur

(thanks to

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Son, Wizard of Marimba

From the recent solo & ensemble contest for JH kids....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Expelled: The Movie

I've been hearing a bit about this upcoming movie, and just came across the video trailer after reading about the film on YS Marko's blog. Here's what he had to say about the film:
"I’m so intrigued by this movie coming out in the spring, called expelled (full title is expelled: no intelligence allowed). I’d heard something about it in passing from a co-worker, but didn’t really know anything about it. But I just clicked through on a banner ad on another site (wow, a banner ad click through!), and learned more about it. And now i’m fascinated.

The movie is a documentary about the bias and discrimination in the scientific community (and supported by media, education and other industries) against anyone who isn’t a die-hard 100% darwinian. And here’s where it gets interesting: ben stein is making the movie. Yes, Ben Stein as in “win Ben Stein’s money” and Ferris Buelier’s Day Off (”anyone? anyone? bueller?”) and a hundred other disparate contexts.
Try this: you hear there’s a documentary being made about credible scientists who want to ask questions and explore ideas about intelligent design, and how they’re being blacklisted by the scientific community. Who do you assume is making the movie?

Really, when i’d heard about it (with NO details at the time), I assumed it was a b-grade or c-grade Christian documentary, full of whininess, fear, martyr complex, hyperbole and shoddy fiat platitudes. but it’s Ben Stein! NOT focus on the family! Ha!
here’s the trailer — TOTALLY worth watching. And the home page (featuring Ben Stein in an angus young ac/dc school outfit).

Let’s all agree to watch this thing when it comes out!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Butter Faith

This made me laugh. If you've ever eaten any of that stuff, you may say to yourself "I can't believe people actually buy this stuff & ingest it!" But I couldn't put a picture of butter on here w/out mentioning my favorite butter related song....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Open Letter To the NFL

In case you missed it, last year during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, churches all across the country were hit with the realization that the Super Bowl parties we've been having for, well, as long as the Super Bowl has existed, were in violation of all sorts of NFL/Nielson/Copyright policies. It's no secret that the entire thing comes down to money. The very nice lady who did call me back from the NFL legal department suggests that it all comes down to those pesky Nielson numbers. They have no way of adequately accounting for the numbers of folks who watch their product in churches & other establishments around the country. Those final numbers are the carrot that allows them to get millions of $ per thirty second commercial each Super Bowl. It allows the NFL and the networks to keep their product free on TV while still making an enormous amount of jack from Frito Lay, Pepsi, Budwiser et al. (I guess they don't make nearly enough of those millions, since they created their own network and charge their customers even more to get to see those games...but that's a different arguement).

Well, we have a little "Big Game" party for the homeless. Oh, one of the many stipulations is you are NOT allowed to call it by its actual name. Really, I'm not making that up. We plan to play by the rules, including screen size, not charging (we weren't anyway...come on, they're homeless folks!), etc. But my hope is that the folks at the NFL, Nielson, and whoever else it takes would get together and find a simple way to manage this. Even though they don't want to look like the bad guy in all of this, they do. A couple of interesting articles from last season's fiasco worth reading are :
and here (this article gives some pretty reasonable solutions, too!)

Below is my letter (which incidently did get a follow-up phone call from a very nice lady from the NFL)

To whom it may concern at the National Football League,

We were met with a great deal of surprise regarding the story that hit the front page of the Indianapolis Star last season regarding church Super Bowl parties, along with a flurry of reports on all evening news telecasts in the Indianapolis area. We were equally surprised that there was any problem with getting people together to enjoy the big game, especially since for most of us in central Indiana, this was the first time we’ve ever had the thrill of "our team" making that game.
I certainly understand your efforts to protect your product and to also protect fans from ticket & merchandise fraud, etc. But I do hope you might reconsider your regulations regarding churches gathering to watch the game on a screen big enough to handle a group of people that might not fit into the average living room, as well as families that want to enjoy the game with a large group and aren’t interested in the bar scene that many enjoy.

For the third year in a row, we plan to invite the homeless from our community to our facility for their evening meal (the shelters are planning to give their kitchen crews the night off), and the chance to enjoy the game and all of the snacks and fun that go with the typical big game gathering. In the last two years, we averaged over 70 homeless men, women & children that climbed in our vans and came out to participate. Last year, to fit within the guidelines that emerged about a week prior to the game, we were forced to 'punt' and have 2 parties at 2 locations so that screen size would be appropriate. It turned out fine, but was an enormous adjustment and not the event we hoped it would be.

I’m sure you are aware that these parties have gone on since the big game was started. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever watched the game at home. For those of us (most Americans) who can never afford to get to one of these games in person, getting together with others and rooting for a team is the next best thing. I know that in youth groups & churches all across America, plans are being made for families of all ages to get together and cheer on their team and enjoy the spectacle that is the commercial breaks.

For the homeless folks we want to serve, their options are even less, as you would probably expect. Most may have a marginal interest in the game, but many do not. These aren't folks who are going to show up in Nielson ratings at any level. They are, however, looking for something to do, a place that’s warm, and food to eat. Our intent isn’t to preach, charge admission, or violate any of the NFL’s policy. We just want to offer food & football to the 80 or so homeless in our community. I’m asking for you to please consider these suggestions:
  1. We would like to continue with our plans to host our local homeless community. There will be approx. 30 or so volunteers here, mixing in with the 70-80 homeless guests, having conversation, popcorn, pizza, etc. We would like to project the game onto a larger screen, since 100 or so people couldn’t possibly gather around the 27-inch TVs we have. So I’m seeking permission to do our party as planned.
  2. I’m also asking that you consider working together with some churches to develop a fully-sanctioned church/NFL event. We’re all well-intentioned, have every desire to be law abiding, and many churches are in a quandry at the moment about how to proceed.
  3. I would also hope you would sit down with a few of us, find out what really goes on at these parties and how we do them, and see that we’re not hurting your product. In fact, most parties are decked out in NFL merchandise, team jerseys, etc. I would even like to invite someone to join us for our event and see how tastefully it is done.
  4. Have other options been explored? Perhaps a downloadable form to give details about a gathering, with numbers & ages of people present? Might that somehow satisfy the Nielson component? How about selling a licensing fee? We’ve done this before with certain movies, like The Passion of the Christ for instance, where they made available a fairly inexpensive license that allowed us a one-time large screen showing of the film. I believe the cost was a sliding scale, based on audience size.

Again, we have every desire to do what’s right, and we hope that you will find a way to partner with the many, many churches that have the ability and desire to pull their people together to celebrate & enjoy this terrific annual event. The entire thing was disappointing last year to many of us; of course it did help that our local team became Super Bowl champions.

Please consider these suggestions along with the many I'm sure you're received from countless other churches & non-profit groups just looking to enjoy your product and enjoy one another.

Top 25 Inspirational Poster Wish-List

(From the folks at


Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.

Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings, they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

We put the "k" in "kwality."

If something doesn't feel right, you're not feeling the right thing.

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.

A person who smiles in the face of adversity...probably has a scapegoat.

If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos...then you probably haven't completely understood the situation.

Plagiarism saves time.

If at first you don't succeed, try management.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.

TEAMWORK...means never having to take all the blame yourself.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.

We waste time, so you don't have to.

Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away!

Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.

A snooze button is a poor substitute for no alarm clock at all.

When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break.


Succeed in spite of management.

Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.

We waste more time by 8:00 in the morning than other companies do all day.

You pretend to work, and we'll pretend to pay you.

Work: It isn't just for sleeping anymore.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

First of all, this is not the normal type of book I normally choose to read. Not that I'm against reading outside of my normal genre of interest, I just don't have (or make) the time. But I read a review somewhere about this book called Three Cups of Tea, and when I stumbled across it at the bookstore, decided to take a chance on it. To say I'm glad I did is an understatement.

There's a lot to say about the book, but perhaps checking out the co-writer's take from the book introduction is best. Greg Mortenson is an amazing guy, and what he's accomplished in Pakistan and Afghanistan is remarkable. I HIGHLY recommend this book. I didn't realize it had been out for over a year, and is apparently one of those word-of-mouth wonders. Currently, its #3 on the New York Times. You'll learn a lot, and be inspired. One person really can change the world. Read the short intro found here, and watch the video interview from the Today show. And get the book (currently, Waldenbooks/Borders has it in the Buy 1, get 1 half price section).