11.29.2006

what am i really worth?

this post that i found through spitbox is one of the most invigorating and inspiring articles i've read in quite some time. and not because i can get rich quick, but because it suggests that there can be more options for my life than i've been told. for the first time, "that's just the way it works," a statement i've heard from the 2 most influential people in my formative years, referring to getting a job and keeping it for as long as possible, may prove to be a fallacy.

the article's called "10 reasons you should never get a job." my favorite reason suggests that i have value that i can offer that equates to more than my ass in a specific chair for a specified number of hours per week. even though it scares me and seems a little ludicrous, i'd like to believe that who i am is as important as what i do. hmmm...i wonder...

11.26.2006

character growing...

throughout my recent blog blackout, i've been in one of the most testing situations of my life. i'm sorry to say that i buckled under the pressure. i was spending time with family for a week. i love my family and i love the particular member who was making my life and the lives of those closest to me, a living hell, but i responded poorly to the pressure.

the story in its entirety is a tale for another time, when the clock isn't breathing down my neck. suffice it to say that i've never been treated with so much disrespect and disdain before. the problem is, like i said, i didn't rise to the challenge. i took the abuse quietly but it didn't stop there. i've talked with almost everyone i know, even strangers, about this person and their imbalance. i've been angry at her and not told her about it, i've been extremely passive-aggressive toward her and i've wished, several times, that i could just put her in her place.

this whole situation just goes to show that the progress i thought i was making in my attitude; learning to be less judgemental and more loving, was not the giant leap i'd taken it for but only a small step at a snail's pace. i've GOT TO find a way to remember that Jesus loves her just as much as he loves me, and that i deserve the same fate that i'm so ready to condemn her to.

but i didn't.

i judged.

i complained (behind her back of course).

i'm sorry. i know that she's oblivious to the whole thing, but i wish there was some way to let her know how much she hurt me, how poorly i reacted and how sorry i am for reacting that way.

i've got a long way to go to becoming the child of God that i sometimes think i am.

11.23.2006

alright, happy thanksgiving.


i love this holiday because of the focus on appreciation. we're reminded once a year (that's enough don't you think?) that despite our tendency to take our families, homes, friends, etc for granted we need to remain thankful for the good things in our lives. this is why i love thanksgiving.

so today, nearing the end of one of the most stressful weeks of my life, i'm thankful for the opportunity that i have for growth. i've not really risen to the challenge thus far, but today and tomorrow i'm gonna make an effort like i haven't before. afterall, if my thankfulness is only extended to those things which make me feel happy and make my life easier, aren't i missing out on over half of what life throws at me? and as much as i love things to be happy and easy, those aren't the things that help me grow strong, or make me who i am, are they? they're the mile-markers along the way; they're the result of choices i make (and sometimes the result of God's blessing in spite of choices i make).

so be thankful, for all the good things in your life that you think about and smile, and all the rough times in your life when you've been forced to grow or shrink. both are great in their own respect: without the downs, the ups wouldn't be as high and without the ups, the downs would suck even worse.

11.20.2006

"she's not human!"

this story was included in a recent newsletter i got from night light, a ministry to prostitutes in bangkok, thailand. below is an excerpt from the newsletter. it's long and completely worth your time. if it strikes a chord with you, please pass this on. these folks can use all the support they can get.

also, check out the jewelry on their website.

A woman's humanity was challenged the other night because she is a prostitute. We share this journal of our latest outreach with you and ask you to please pray for Lina and all the young women trafficked as commodities to a strange land.

"She's Not Human"
Advertising of Women
“She’s not a human being! She sells her body!” The fruit vendor on the street spoke with disgust and her words left me shocked. I felt anger rise up in me. She was justifying her attack of a young Uzbek woman earlier that evening.

The Attack
We were winding up our outreach where young Eastern European and Central Asian woman are trafficked for prostitution. All of the sudden, a fruit vendor on the curbside angrily threw a bucket of water at a young foreign woman. As the woman stood there dripping and in shock the vendor began attacking the woman with her plastic cooler. Again and again she went after her while a crowd of men gathered around to watch. A few laughs filled the air as the woman turned and ran into the street.

Quietly, but quickly I went after her. She was crying and disoriented. I asked if she was okay and then I saw blood gushing from her hand. I started to guide her to the nearby hotel. She panicked and said, “No, no, not there,” afraid of this hotel used so regularly for sexual services. “We need to take care of your hand. Its okay, we’ll take care of you.” In the hotel bathroom, as the water rinsed the blood from the wound she cried out in pain and shock. “Why? Why did she attack me?”

Hospital Visit
The blood would not stop and I said, “We have to take you to a doctor.” She looked frightened. “No, I no money.” “We’ll help you.” I tried to console her and explain that she had to see a doctor. We jumped in a taxi and rushed to a nearby hospital. The young woman, Lina, was frightened but tried to look composed. She said, “Okay, I okay. You go. I go.” I tried to reassure her, “You are alone. You are scared. We will help you.”

At the emergency room the nurses took down information. She is 23 years old and from Uzbekistan. This is her first trip to Thailand. They asked us for more information and we told them we don’t know anything. The doctor was puzzled. “You don’t know her?”

The doctor looked at the damage on her hand. Her finger was not broken but the tendon looked crushed. They injected the wound to numb it and she cried out in pain. She clenched my hand with her other hand which was also cut. The doctor began to stitch up her hand. Blood from the wounds on her back was seeping into the bed sheets. We turned her on her side and tried to comfort her.

Lina spoke very little English. One of our volunteers could speak a little Russian. We tried to communicate what was happening with piecemeal Russian and English, translating the doctor’s Thai. He asked if she had a tetanus shot recently. “Tetanus” was not one of the vocabulary words our volunteer knew. Lina called her friend and we tried to explain. “Has she had a tetanus shot?” “Yes she has passport!” Her friend answered. Still uncertain, the doctor said it would be safer to give the vaccine. When her hand was stitched and bandaged, they dressed her other wounds.The eyeliner that darkly outlined her beautiful brown eyes was smeared from the tears she was trying to hold back. Every now and then her shoulders quivered as she held off the cries that were building up inside.

The Arab Agent
We went to the lobby to wait for the bill. An Arab man approached. “Let’s go,” he said to her. I said, “No, she is waiting for her medicine.” He said, “We’ll get the medicine outside.” “NO!” I said strongly. “She will wait for the medicine the doctor has ordered.” One of my team began to ask questions. He became uncomfortable. “I just came to help her go back to her friend.” I tried the naive approach, “Do you live in Bangkok?” “No, I’m on vacation,” his eyes were evasive. “Where are you from?” (Dubai) “Are you enjoying Thailand?” I tried to dissolve his suspicions. The man was uneasy. He went outside for a cigarette and made a phone call. Lina answered her phone. The man disappeared and Lina changed her story. She no longer had a “boss.” She had come to Bangkok on her own. I looked her in the eyes and said, “Lina, I know. I understand about the Uzbek women coming to Bangkok. We want to help you.”

When the bill was paid, Lina thanked us. We exchanged phone numbers and the cultural three- kiss-on-the-cheek farewell. She insisted she was waiting for her friend. We said good bye and with a deep sadness, watched her walk off into the dark alone.

Humanity Devalued
Regretfully, we headed back to the area of the attack. I approached the fruit vendor and politely asked what had happened to make her so angry. The woman said, “She was hanging around here.” I asked again, “What did she do to make you angry at her?” “She’s a bad person. She sells her body!” She made an obscene gesture with her own body to illustrate. “She’s a human being,” I said. The fruit vendor rudely cut me off,“She’s not a human being. She sells her body!” The anger surged in me. “You caused her harm. Her hand was badly wounded and we had to take her to the emergency room where she had stitches and injections.” “No, that’s not true,” the woman lied. “It was a different person.” “It is true and you know it,” I retorted. “Prove it!” a man said. I got the receipt and waved it in the air before the vendors and the crowd of men. The woman replied with scorn, “This has nothing to do with you!” “It does have to do with me and with you and with all of us!” I pointed at the growing crowd. “This is about community. We must show respect for each other as human beings. We have to help one another.”

I left frustrated and angry. The woman’s attitude summed up so much of society’s attitude toward women in prostitution. “They are not humans. They sell their bodies.” From this distorted belief stems the growing exploitation of women and children around the world through prostitution and trafficking. They have been so devalued that their human identity is denied and they have become commodities available and dispensable. Trafficking in human beings is now tied for second place in illegal global crime. The attitude runs more rampant than we would like to believe. Community values have broken down. The value of a human life is up for bargain.

Humanity Affirmed
Tonight, a young Uzbek woman lay on a hospital bed, crying in fear and pain as she struggled to communicate in broken English to strangers in a foreign land. The image will haunt me. Her physical wounds were treated, but when Lina left the hospital and our care, she returned alone to another form of violence that will leave invisible scars not so easily forgotten.

Lina's humanity was denied in a violent attack. But, God in His mercy was present through us to convey to her His message. “Yes, Lina, you are a human being! Men may exploit your body and label you ‘for sale,’ but I, God, created you in my image. You are precious, and of great value to the one who knows your real name.”

11.16.2006

roseanne arnold saves us all

*while the facts herein are true, the intesity is hyperbolized. i'm sure roseanne is doing the best that she can in the place that she is, and i've had plenty of stupid ideas myself and will have plenty more.*

i heard some excerpts from an interview with roseanne arnold yesterday on talk radio. she's got some really dynamite ideas. the best one, and this is really gonna do it for our country, is to close the wage gap by raising the minimum wage, (she didn't give a figure, but it's probably significant since the goal is to "close" the wage gap) and creating a wage cap or "maximum wage", if you will (and i think you might).

"i'm interested, roseanne, please go on. what would you recommend for this maximum wage?"

ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS!!

what are you, stoned? so you think that by raising the minimum wage to, for the sake of argument let's say, $20/hour, and creating a maximum wage of $100,000,000 per year will somehow "close" the wage gap? and just for the sake of comparison, $20/hr at 40hrs/week, 52 weeks/year comes out to about $41,000. and do you really think that somebody who's buymping up against that $100,000,000 marker isn't gonna be able to find a way to make more? they can spend what i'll make in 2 or 3 years in order to keep an extra $1,000,000.

thanks for the help roseanne.

11.15.2006

politics schmolitics

top seven political party differentiators:

this list was inspired by this post by Hale-Yeah!

my perspective on the two major parties (which is based out of a general malaise toward politics and a vaguely, cynically naive "understanding," and a belief that both parties are basically the same in terms of their lack of integrity and their desire to say anything to make us believe that the other party wants each one of us dead) is as follows:

  1. reps tend to look out for the interests of those who can or have helped themselves, dems tend to look out for those who can't help themselves.
  2. reps believe in personal resposibility, (i'll pull myself up by my bootstraps) dems belive in situational responsibility (people are holding me down with my own bootstraps so i need governement aid to cut my bootstraps so that the government can pick me up.)
  3. dems tend toward a "live and let live" philosophy toward foreign policy, reps tend toward the "protect-ya-neck, do-unto-others-before-they-do-unto-you" sort of philosophy.
  4. dems want to be cool, reps want to be rich
  5. dems focus on the fact that we were all immigrants at one time and support a more open immigration policy, reps believe this i
  6. reps tend to want a small government, dems tend to see a problem, want a gov't program.
  7. they're both big on freedom of speech: reps for christians, dems for everyone except christians
  8. they're both big on civil liberties: dems to protect our rights to look at porn and have any sort of sex with whomever we choose, reps to protect our right to beat up people who admit looking at porn and have sex with people in ways that we don't approve of.
  9. neither party really cares about abortion anymore
  10. neither party claims to like president bush, i guess they both want to be cool.

i'm way more judgemental than i want to believe

it's funny how timing works. after my previous post, i definitely felt good about myself. the common ground i found with theresa in her deconversion experience was evidence of a change that god's been working in me over the past few months - teaching me to default to what we can agree on instead of where we differ. (a.k.a. where i'm right and you're wrong) i was so proud of this progress made that i guess i needed to be reminded that i don't have it figured out. i would love to tell the story, but it's too long and i don't have the patience. in a nutshell, i went to lunch with someone who believes differently than me on many issues that are important to me (he's also a christian by the way) and instead of looking for the common ground i could share with him, i ranted and raved for 30 minutes after the lunch was over about how i couldn't believe this guy was for real!

suffice it to say, i was reminded harshly of my inner desire to be judge and jury based on the way i felt about this guy. i also realized that i'm the same as him - i have opinions that i can't believe someone else doesn't share, and since he didn't share my opinions/values, there must be something wrong with him.

i had to spend some time asking god to forgive my horrible attitude toward his son and continue the refinement process in me.

whoa doggy, i have a long, long, long way to go.

11.13.2006

i've never agreed so much with someone i disagree with before

i just read a blog entry that was one of the most honest and open stories i've read in a while. here's the link to ex-pator, ex-wife, ex-christian. it's long and well worth it. i was pointed to this blog by oblique spheroid. as i read, i was captivated by her sense of loyalty to her husband through situations that would test even the most gracious of people. i was shocked to read a story that didn't include the expected malice and bitterness that one would expect, especially as the list of trials and frustrations grew. i was entranced by her clarity in her journey and her desire to embrace truth. i was saddened by her accounts of people she'd been in relationship with inside christendom. i know that we're all imperfect and i have no desire to stand in judgement over these people who hurt her as there are always two sides to story, and i'm sure those folks have experienced more than their fair share of hurt, but come on. i mean, i guess it just takes me aback to hear accounts of people who seem to be completely blind to the reality of who they are and the choices they make.

not that i'm not in the same boat from time to time, but i'm aware that i do occassionally reside in that boat...

i'm getting judgemental, so that's the end of my commentary on that. suffice it to say, i apparently think i'm above treating people as badly as theresa was treated, even though i can think of instances when i have been a total jerk. whatever, i guess i'm worse than i want to believe i am.

anyway, i appreciated her story, her honesty, her process. when i think of her, i'll ask God to continue to reveal truth to her. just because she doesn't believe doesn't mean i can't.

11.11.2006

if you've ever wanted to give church the finger, raise your hand

i don't know why this came to mind this morning, but here we go.

basically, i was just wondering how many of you have, at some point, decided that church wasn't for you, maybe even that god wasn't for you. here's my story:

i grew up in fresno, california as the son of a youth pastor at a run-of-the-mill assemblies of god church. my childhood was good. when i was about 6 or 7 years old, my dad started getting really excited about the idea of teaching english in china. before i knew it, we were living about 10 hours from the russian border in the northeast corner of china. i loved it. our one-year trip was cut short as a result of the student uprising that happened there in 1989. we returned to the states for a couple years before returning to china for another 2. there is a lot more that could be shared but in the interest of this story, the main thing to remember is that once my dad stopped being a youth pastor, that was the end of his paid ministry career.

fast forward a few years, i'm in high school. i never got too involved at school because i was always involved at church. my closest friends were there, i was tight with my youth pastor and i just never really got into the whole school-spirit thing for whatever reason. i graduated high school and stayed in town; living with my folks, working full-time and going to junior college. i was also "interning" with the church and the same youth pastor i was really close with.

after 2 years at j.c., i transferred to southern california to attend vanguard university. in retrospect, this was the path of least resistance and that's probably why i chose it. my 2 years at vanguard were some of the most formative in my life thus far. i came face to face with some serious relational issues between my dad and i, and was able, with some very good counselling, to talk with him about the issues and move past them. i got my first taste of life on my own, and simultaneously realized that life in college was way, way easier than life in the "real world." i also became completely disillusioned with the church and christians and found that the more vocal any person or institution was about their christianity, the more i distrusted its validity.

DISCLAIMER:MANY PEOPLE HAVE GREAT EXPERIENCE WITH VANGUARD. THIS IS JUST ONE PERSON'S EXPERIENCE. I'M NOT SAYING IT'S A BAD SCHOOL! Okay, that's out of the way.

i just happened to have close contact with a professor who manipulated and guilted students into doing what he wanted, played favorites among students, threw temper tantrums and smiled graciously as he talked about what a great program he ran. it was very off-putting. i had a friend who got into trouble for going to a party that took place while she was out of the country. the biblical guidelines for conflict management took a backseat to hearsay from "good" kids.

my desire to have any ties to anything with a christian label ended with my tenure at vanguard. i worked at starbucks and hung out with my work friends. i loved god and believed the same as i had except i had zero desire to be a part of a church or associate with anyone who claimed to be a christian because i would bet dollars to doughnuts that they were paying lip service to the god of their parents without having ever taken a second to ponder what christ really stands for or why he came to this earth.

7 years later, i'm a pastor. what?!! i moved to north idaho to help to start a church with the youth pastor from my high school days. i chose to go for it because i knew him and his desire to throw off the trappings of christianity and embrace what christ really stood for. for the first several years of my tenuous church involvement, i still held a high disdain for anyone who was too vocal about their christianity as i was still pretty sure that they were speaking loudly to cover something up.

today, i'm the leas cynical that i've ever been (which isn't saying much at all) and am doing my best to allow god to shape my heart into one that gives people the benefit of the doubt, recognizes that we're all hypocrites and loves people regardless of the names they trade on. i am willing to refer to myself as a christian, though it still gives me pause when i have to. i'm really trying hard to live a life that answers the question without words, but sometimes it comes down to that and i'm really trying to embrace the idea.

i'm a christian. i'm not prefect. i put up facades just like my college professor that was so instrumental in giving me an excuse to abandon the church. i allow hearsay from the "good" people to preempt the biblical mandate for conflict resolution. i am selfish and blind like so many of the "spoiled christian kids" that gave me an excuse to distance myself from them.

i realize now, with a sense of irony that makes my throat hurt, that it was my own arrogance and pride that convinced me that these people, this label, was dragging me down. that wasn't the case. i still don't feel it like i know i need to , but i'm trying. so if i've acted in ways that have made you feel like you don't want to be associated with me in any way, i'm sorry. i can't say it won't happen again, but i can say that i'm truly sorry and i'm doing my best to allow god to shape me into the person he wants me to be, a little bit more each day. not that it's a smooth ride, but what am i gonna do, quit? not again.

11.09.2006

a halloween tragedy

for those of you who know me in real life, you'll probably feel a little sick. for those of you who only know me through the miracle of modern technology, you may also feel a bit sick. basically, these pictures might make you feel a little sick. but they're worth looking at, if only once, for the impact they'll have on your life.

here's a "normal" picture of me.


and here's a Halloween Tragedy!!


and here's a Halloween Tragedy with his wife

11.08.2006

avoid the spam!!

i found a great site today with some tips on how to avoid spam. i just finished making necessary improvements to the sites i administrate.

this list is courtesy of junkbusters. all the links go to the same page, just different spots on the page. there weren't as many links as headings. sorry.

  1. reduce exposure to harvesting - create a bot-resistant site by avoiding linking to your email (href mailto:) and by getting creative with your email address posting, like yourname[atsign]your domain. this way your email address won't read like an email address to those soulless machines.
  2. make sure your browsing isn't giving you away - i didn't really understand what this one was talking about, but here's a link to it anyway.
  3. request anonymity from sources of addresses - if possible, opt out of any member directories you're a part of. they are favorites of spammers.
  4. report spammers to isp's and email providers - how exactly does this need expanded?
  5. report spammers to law enforcement - sick "the man" on them
  6. what about removal services? - some of them are garbage and some may actually add you to more lists. i propose that anytime you find a list of anything, you brun it. the less lists there are, the less lists spammers will likely have with my email address on it.

11.07.2006

did you see this letter from haggard?

i received links to these letters in an email from a friend. i hope and pray that the spirit of these letters will carry through this whole thing. first is a letter from ted to his church and the second a letter from his wife gayle.

here's a link to ted's letter.

November 5, 2006

My Dear New Life Church Family,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for the disappointment, the betrayal, and the hurt. I am sorry for the horrible example I have set for you.

I have an overwhelming, all-consuming sadness in my heart for the pain that you and I and my family have experienced over the past few days. I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment to all of you.

I asked that this note be read to you this morning so I could clarify my heart's condition to you. The last four days have been so difficult for me, my family and all of you, and I have further confused the situation with some of the things I've said during interviews with reporters who would catch me coming or going from my home. But I alone am responsible or the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn’t a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family.

I created this entire situation. The things that I did opened the door for additional allegations. But I am responsible; I alone need to be disciplined and corrected. An example must be set.

It is important that you know how much I love and appreciate my wife, Gayle. What I did should never reflect in a negative way on her relationship with me. She has been and continues to be incredible. The problem was not with her, my children, or any of you. It was created 100% by me.

I have been permanently removed from the office of Senior Pastor of New Life Church. Until a new senior pastor is chosen, our Associate Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley, will assume all of the responsibilities of the office. On the day he accepted this new role, he and his wife, Aimee, had a new baby boy. A new life in the midst of this circumstance—I consider that confluence of events to be prophetic. Please commit to join with Pastor Ross and the others in church leadership to make their service to you easy and without burden. They are fine leaders. You are blessed.

I appreciate your loving and forgiving nature, and I humbly ask you to do a few things:

1. Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.

2. Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.

3. Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his actions will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn’t violate you; I did.

4. Please stay faithful to each other. Perform your functions well. Encourage each other and rejoice in God’s faithfulness. Our church body is a beautiful body, and like every family, our strength is tested and proven in the midst of adversity. Because of the negative publicity I’ve created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.

Gayle and I need to be gone for a while. We will never return to a leadership role at New Life Church. In our hearts, we will always be members of this body. We love you as our family. I know this situation will put you to the test. I’m sorry I’ve created the test, but please rise to this challenge and demonstrate the incredible grace that is available to all of us.

Ted Haggard

here's a link to gayle's letter


November 5, 2006

Dear Women of New Life Church,

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.

What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death “do us part.” We started this journey together and with the grace of God, we will finish together.

If I were standing before you today, I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church. For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful.

I love you all so much, especially you young women—you were my delight.

To all the church family of new Life Church—Ted and I are so proud of you. You are all we hoped you would be. In our minds, there is no greater church.

As you try to make sense of these past few days, know that Ted believes with all his heart and soul everything he has ever taught you, those things you are putting into practice. He is now the visible and public evidence that every man (woman and child) needs a Savior.

We are grateful for your prayers for our family.

I hold you forever in my heart,

Gayle Haggard

11.06.2006

more on unity

this started as a comment replying to comments on let's not do what i'm doing, but i wanted to expound a bit more, so here's a follow-up to it in a whole new blog entry. yeah!!

i would love to see us (the body of christ) learn to find value in each other rather than trying to figure out who's better or righter. life is full of variety and i, as much or more than anyone, tend to define things by their differences instead of their similarities. this sort of deductive reasoning can be helpful in making observations but also has led me (many, many, many, many, many times) down a path that leads to polarization of people and issues. i mean, we all see the differences between the two approaches, there are a lot of similarities between them as well which can (and i think should) be celebrated.

  1. both are interested in seeing people come to a greater understanding of god's love for mankind.
  2. both are willing to make such endeavors a high priority (maybe the apex) of their lives.
  3. both care for people very much (just express it differently)
  4. both are interested in being as effective as possible communicating the truth as they see it. (i.e. both use the prolific medium of video with some manner of creative reinforcement as opposed to a simple talking head)
why is it so hard for me to look for similarities in the first place? here's an analogy that's helping me to understand this better.

question: who loves a child more, a parent who raises a child to understand healthy boundaries by offering both praise and correction, or a grandparent who's main goal is to make sure that child has the best time they've ever had, every minute of every day?

answer (at least according to me): they fulfill different roles in the child's life, so comparing which is better or worse is like asking whether you need air or water to survive. i'll take both please.

11.05.2006

let's not do what i'm almost doing

i found a video today linked from church marketing sucks to finding rhythm. I watched the whole video which is about 10 minutes long and was pretty disappointed. i definitely disagree with the premise of the video as far as approach, but more than that i would love to see a lot more both/and thinking in the church rather than all this either/or. this video is an a+ example. apparently whoever produced this video doesn't agree with rob bell philosophically. understandable. rob's one man with one man's conviction and methodology when it comes to serving jesus and communicating the gospel.

why can't we just leave it at that? you have your method, rob has his, i have mine. obviously we all believe that we're approaching the gospel message from the most effective angle or we'd switch angles. the likelihood of your convincing me that your angle is the better one, let alone the only right one, is slim at best and will more likely result in a greater rift than greater unity.

oh, and technically, aren't all people unique? i mean, sure you've got the problem of twins and best friends, but mostly isn't each person a little different from the next? why then do we need to come up with one "correct" method for sharing the gospel? i'm sure some people respond much more effectively to the "turn or burn" method than the "relational love" method if they've become accustomed to such communication in their life. some people are completely the opposite and want nothing to do with anyone who would presume to tell them what is in their heart.

so, forgive me for the link to the video. i only post it so that you can get some context for whati'm talking about. if you watch the video and feel your ire rising, maybe ask god to help you see their perspective and why they may feel the way they feel. maybe consider that they feel, when they watch rob bell's nooma, the way you feel when you're watching their production.

there's room for all of us. the church is a body. we can't all be eyes. we can't all be knees. we can't all be the cool hair. let's stop trying to change noses to wrists and start appreciating each other for the unique roles we fulfill.

11.03.2006

W.W.J.V.F.

election time tends to get me a little tense because while i feel a civic responsibility to vote, i can't seem to figure out which is bad and which is worse. it appears that politicians are primarily concerned with their own paychecks as opposed to public service, which explains why it makes sense to them to spend campaign donations on smear campaigns against their opponents instead of communicating what they're for. this makes the political structure looks like the world's largest jenga game, with each piece teeters on the brink of disaster, doing everything it can to hold on to it's place.

this year i had decided to vote based on 2 primary issues - the environment and taxation. my reasons for choosing these issues are now obsolete because i've devised another primer. i'm going to vote for whichever candidates run ads telling me about who they are rather than what a jerk their opponent is. i figure, regardless of what they support, if a person will pay a lot of money to write produce and run a campaign bad-mouthing somebody else, i don't trust what they say they support anyway. i mean, i make a concerted effort not to talk poorly of people, even people who i think deserve it. i wouldn't allow my daughter to talk about people that way, and if one of my close friends did so, i'd have some serious questions for them, trying to understand why they felt such talk was appropriate.

so there you have it. if you're spending campaign money to talk smack on somebody, you lose my vote. i don't care if you're running on a platform of giving me $1 million, because i know that if you'll talk about somebody else that way, you'd probably do the same to me.

if you tell me what you support without bad-mouthing others, even if i don't agree, you'll get my vote because ultimately i'd rather have a leader with some character who i disagree with, than a leader who'll do anything to make me think they agree with me whether they do or not.

oh, it stands for "who would jesus vote for" in case you were wondering.

11.02.2006

the newest extreme sport - spitboxing

there are a handful of blogs that i look forward to everytime my homepage pops up. (see list at right) my great days start when i see a fresh link under my favorite titles. when there's no new material, i'll be checking back every few minutes until one arrives. one of my new favorites is spitbox. it's a blogzine compiled by a couple guys who apparently have more time to read blogs than i do and yet still manage to be productive members of their respective communities. what they do is scour the internet (yes, all of it) finding the best of the christ-centered-but-not-overly-serious-and-religious blogosphere. they do a great job and it's my new first-look.

and they update this thing more often than i wonder if i'm gonna have to pay for my own lunch today. it's a must read for anyone interested in anything!

and please email if you want to buy me lunch today.