Friday, December 31, 2010

Must Fix Tags

I've become a police car magnet the last few days. It's very nerve wracking.

Twice in Leawood, KS.

Twice in Kansas City, MO.

I thought my goose was cooked this afternoon.

After I turned into the Phillips 66 he came through the lot from the west.

I decided I needed a bag of chips then!

Let's see--small IRA vs. losing mind over driving illegal automobile.

The IRA will be liquidated soon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More From the Innertubes--On Atheism

I wanted to look at more goodness on NYC's stumbling around with their blizzard (Michael Bloomberg sounded a lot like Mayor Funky there for a while!), and found this on the website of the New York Daily News.

This article sums up the way I feel rather well. The arrogance of many atheists--especially Bill Maher who frankly, I just can't stand. It isn't God that some of these people denigrate the most--it's people of faith. It is as if we are not intelligent or worth knowing if we happen to believe in God. Money quote:
It's these snarky and condescending rejections, not of faith itself but of those who profess it, that reflect a total unwillingness to learn something new about human nature, the world around us and even of science itself. While the neoatheists pay only cursory attention to dismantling arguments for God, they spend most of their time painting his followers as uncultured rubes. The fact that religion has inexplicably persisted, even despite Copernicus, Darwin and the Enlightenment, doesn't seem to have much sociological meaning for them
Go fight with God, please. I try hard to accept you on face value, without judgment for your atheism. I will not try to convince you to believe. I will not talk about "God things" unless we mutually agree to talk about "God things." In the end, we may end up agreeing to disagree about our respective faiths. However, your value as a person and as part of God's creation has not been diminished for me due to your beliefs. Do me a favor, and extend to me the same respect for my personal value and integrity even though I believe that there is a God.

BTW, the comments to this are hysterical! The atheists in the crowd are all upset that the author is sympathetic to believers. They engage in ad hominem attacks on her like crazy, calling her stupid among other things. My personal favorite--"AINO"--atheist in name only.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Around the Interwebs

Christmas day's op-ed page in the New York Times was just full of awesomeness. I posted on SKO on one bit of the awesome. Here is another--Ross Douthat on why Christmas is hard on Christians.

He is really using this as a gateway to introduce two authors who write about the death of Christendom. Most interesting. If we Christians are going to be one part of a multiplicity of cultures and ways of life, then witnessing goes from an intellectual or persuasive exercise to one that is more experiential in nature--how is our way of living a better way of living than other ways of living? (I know--define "better"--but in a way that space and ambiguity is in our favor. God can approach people with His grace in so many different ways, addressing so many needs!)

That means that when faith hits the road, it has to hit the road in a winsome way and in a flexible way. Not a wimpy way--Jesus wasn't wimpy in His calls to follow Him--but in a way that can be used by God's Holy Spirit to lead someone towards God. Not a waffling way--people really are looking for firm ground to stand on in these days when very little looks firm at all.

This feeds into this that I found on the Kansas City Star's religion blog.

The "money quote" (to borrow a phrase!)
But the answer to relativism is not false certitude. The answer is to be comfortable with ambiguity but to be committed to some foundational standards that help guide us through that ambiguity

This is why I count my blessings regularly that God led me to the corner of Christendom called Wesleyan. Wesleyans are allowed to think. Now, that also means we've been known to fight, but I like the freedom to think out loud and work out the trickier aspects of the faith. I've addressed this before, after an Adam Hamilton sermon:

I quote Pastor Hamilton in the beginning of the post:
Deep conviction, not deep certainty.
Closer to God, more aware of short comings and faults.
The more you know about God, the more you realize you do not know.
Less certainty, deeper conviction
Not all figured out...God so much bigger...willing to listen to others.
The more you grow, more you know, more you realize that you don't know
Hold fast to convictions...deeper experience with God...recognize that you don't have all the truths.
He is reflecting on the pharisees and how they became part of the plot to kill Jesus. How, because they were so legalistic and law driven that they couldn't see the way the Kingdom of God was to be set up--the Kingdom of God's love in the heart.

Great stuff--much food for thought for Christmas!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Candlelight Service

Sit in the choir loft? Not a problem! Best view in the house.

Church of the Resurrection 2300 Christmas eve service 2010. Place was packed out.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Well, the weather is OK. I am helping with a couple services at the church, so I don't have too much time--managed to get up and do the emergency laundry I have needed to do for several days--yay! Now I have clean underwear...

The blog is yellow--I hope closer to gold--because He has come--the waiting of Advent is over. He came not as a King but as a baby to a young girl and a humble carpenter in a back water town in a remote corner of the Roman empire. The next time He comes he will wear the crown--but today we celebrate God's Son, who came to save us from our sins.

Christmas blessings to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weather Woes

Last year, it thundered and rained during the 1800 and 2000 contemporary Christmas Eve eve services, and then we got 10 inches or so of snow on Christmas Eve.

Well, after a very quiet and dry late fall, the weather has set up to give us a storm coming in for Christmas Eve and the day before. (If Murphy wasn't in health care, he/she may have been clergy.) It is still too far out to be sure about timing and precipitation types, but a little somethin' somethin' will be here on Thursday.

Or it could be nothing.

We all know that forecasting snow in the Midwest is hard--remember the 4 inches of partly cloudy that one year? Right now, the schedule is SS Chat 'n' Chew Wednesday evening, CR Dinner followed by 2000 Christmas Eve eve service, and 2300 Christmas Eve service.

Fingers crossed here peeps, not just for my own travel, but the giving that is represented by these services. A lot of good is done with the money the church receives at offering during the bazillion pre-Christmas services.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Music

I am not a huge fan of Christmas music. There are things I really like, but the majority of "winter songs" leave me not wanting more. At this point, a week from December 25, even the Christian stations are playing a lot of Christmas stuff. Ugh. Reaching for the CDs now.

Here's a song I really like though by Barlow Girl. Very cool lyrics and very rich musically.

Merry Christmas everyone--"hallelujah we've been found!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Did It!

Well, now I am a member of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. I decided to join for several reasons
1. That little tiny bit more of accountability.
2. Opens up the congregational care position
3. An expression of gratitude for how the church has helped me in so many ways in the 16 months I have been attending.

I do feel bad that I have not yet notified Pastor Eric. No doubt if he has looked at things on Facebook, he knows I have been attending COR regularly. I am downloading Open Office so I can write a letter without all the format issues for printing at the library (since it's compatible with Word) and I will send him a note, hopefully before the membership release request gets to him. I might write the first draft here since it is going to take a hour to download Open Office.

I haven't announced it on FB since I don't really want Pastor Eric to find out that way. After the letter is written and on its way, I'll mention it.

It still is a little scary leaving the Church of the Nazarene--like leaving your childhood church. In a way it was my childhood church. And I could return--especially if I move some where where all the UM Churches are either way dead or way out theologically. But right now, this appears to be God's will for me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Not Everything Is Beneficial

On Wednesday night I got in a conversation with Victor that ended up disturbing me greatly. He has been reading books by athiests like Dawkins et. al. You know the famous ones. He has been extolling how much he learned from these guys, these great scientists and philosophers who don't think there is a god.

A great deal of what is contained in these books is critique of the church. Now, Lord knows we can use critique! But to judge God based on the actions of His very much less than perfect followers--I don't care for that. I often don't know why God put so much in our finite, sin stained hands, but He did. Please look at God--honestly without a chip on the shoulder. If you want to say there is no god due to problems with the suffering of innocents or you just can't see how the science and faith work together, I can respect that. But don't dismiss God because Billy Graham said some things about racial issues that you don't like.

Victor keeps saying he's glad he's read these authors--that he has learned a lot. For me, it seems to be the equivalent of taking a revolver with a bullet in it and pointing it at your head--Russian Roulette--you don't know what chamber has the bullet in it. I guess by dint of my education and my reading, I am familiar with many of the objections to faith and I don't feel like I need further exposure. Not because I am sticking my head in the sand--I hear all the objections on a regular basis like any Christian. We will hear more and more of them as we get more post Christian, more secular and more post modern.

I believe that, while there may be a number of atheist people who honestly came to their conclusion 100% intellectually--many are just not willing to give up that control--it's a Lordship thing. Being saved is cool, but when God wants everything--well, that's not cool.

I think more and more we are going to find that many people will come to God with the realization that they are not the center of the universe and their lives are spinning out of control. It's the first step: Realize I am not God and my life is out of control. It's a big time slice of humble pie for humanity to take, and some are not ready to take it--and may never be.

For me, I'll admit it, I am taking time off from the McD's on Minor and Holmes--the words of Paul in my ears--not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10). I was troubled all that late evening after returning home--found myself reciting Bible verses, praying a lot and remembering song and hymn lyrics to calm my heart and mind.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen...or even fully understood at times.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Great Question!

Pastor Hamilton asked this terrific question on Facebook tonight!
  • I've got a meeting tomorrow with a group of denominational leaders on the the essentials of effective pastoral leadership. I'd love your input: What are the five most important qualities of pastoral leaders that create or lead vibrant, alive churches?

    I was thinking back to Fred and Burlington-Williston. What did he do that made that church grow like it did? And he reproduced it in Weymouth. He wasn't heavily educated. He wasn't a great speaker/preacher. However, God used him mightily to grow the church. He was the person I had in my mind when I responded to the question myself.
    What a great question! The things I thought of are integrity, humility, ability to build community within the church and relate to the community outside the church, and the belief that God can really make a difference and change lives.
    28 minutes ago ·
    That was my snap answer--I might think on it some more. To rephrase the question just a little bit--what characteristics of a person enable the Holy Spirit to use that person to build His church?

    Remembering that it is God who builds His church!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Great Thoughts?

I have all these great thoughts, but then I share them at group and that is sort of that.

I do need to sort some stuff out at some point.

But even my political thoughts are a mess, I tried writing a "What Am I?" entry for SKC Observer and it just turned into this amorphous mess.

We just go along.

Not as breathless as last year though...

Your Love

You can have all kinds of intellectual discussion about whether or not God exists or that He cares. And He does reach some through that "Thinking" function, that deductive from A to B work. That place where sometimes the atheists think they can make hay by talking about inconsistencies in the Bible or with some aspect of Science. Sometimes, I think that it is through His endless bottomless Love that God draws us to Himself. That works better on me, that is for sure. But as said before in this space, a good Christian life is balanced between the intellectual and the emotional.

So, anyway, I like this song. It appeals to my Feeling function!

Advent Is Here

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent. So, it's time for Advent purple here on the blog. Looks pretty good, I think.

Waiting for Christmas is the job of Advent...

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine eternal Spirit
Rule in our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

--Charles Wesley

Monday, November 15, 2010

O Church Arise

This is by the same guy who wrote "In Christ Alone." It sounds really impressive when sung by a big female voice, but this version is pretty good too. More stripped down than when the 1700 COR band has done it.

I'm just going to soak in music and the Word. I want the stimulation that God brings, not any artificial high made by human hands that wears off and leaves you feeling worse than before.

Not just worship, but communion! (Thanks, John)

Hanging Out in Mediocre Ville

My life is not very compelling right now.

In fact, I have had trouble keeping my eyes from looking at stuff my eyes should not look at, just for stimulation and titillation. Anything that looks like a lot of work and commitment is not getting my attention like it should.

Just kind of wandering around, sometimes in circles.

I think I need to be very careful about what I look at right now, that it edify me and build me up. I also need more fellowship around the Word of God. It really is starting to look like a bit of a mistake not to sign up for that Sunday night disciple class, cause I absolutely loathe going home after church by myself. I am thinking about going Saturday night instead, as a couple of Thursday peeps go then regularly. That way I'll get the interaction I need.

Feels like attack from the Evil One--something I think is happening to our entire step study group.

Well, then, you know what to do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Keep Calm...

The legal beagles at the KSBN have decided to keep perusing the case. However, the email this morning was a bit off the mark. They wanted CEUs between 2008 and mid October 2010. I got those!

I found myself laughing at the silliness of it all. I don't want to say much more--better to save it for the legal proceeding.

I was reinstated to practice--just in time for a clinic tomorrow at 0700 in Lenexa--that's why this entry at 2255 is quicky-quick.

As TKC says: Developing...

Meantime, this is my motto, above, with regard.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Trouble...Can I Keep It in Proportion?

Well, the legal department at the Kansas Board of Nursing is wanting to investigate me for sending in my renewal without the CEUs.

If I had known this would happen, I just would have done the CEUs and sent the renewal in late, and avoided practicing until I was renewed. Now, they are all acting like I committed an infraction.

Technically, I did.

But it just seems like a whole lot of to-do over something that is already remediated. The letter announcing the investigation is dated November 3. They should have received the CEUs November 2. We're going to start a big deal over this?

It's bugging the heck out of me.

It sounds like it has the potential to be a big long process.

And what of my hard-earned license renewal in the meantime?

Like I said, it's bugging me.

It shouldn't; it appears to be the result of a bad decision on my part. But it's already fixed and we should move on.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Awesome T Shirt

The back with 1 Corinthians 12 on it.

The front--"Be the Church"
"walking living loving"
"Religion will never save you"
"The Church is not a Building but a Body."

and other neat stuff I can't completely read due to the resolution of the photo.

Ah ha, the website to the rescue! Although my pics are truer to the colors of the shirt.

Cool, huh? I want one and I hope to get one soon with birthday money!

Using Liturgical Color

I was depinking all of my blogs when it occurred to me that we could have the background and colors of this simple design reflect the colors of the church year. Thus we have the change from blue to the green of "ordinary time." Green is the color used for the majority of the church year, between the great anticipations and celebrations of Advent/Lent and Christmas/Easter and the celebration of the Holy Spirit's coming. Let's see if I manage to remember to change things up in a timely manner!

I have to tip my hat in thanks to John and Ev for making me conscious and aware of the colors of the church calender and how meaningful they can be. It adds to my worship experience to see the sanctuary decorations change over the course of the year.

And now that I am a "Metho-rene"--the garb of the preacher and acolytes!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blogging Gets Behind

When I get a job that takes up more time I may end up blogging a lot less. It's only now I was able to update the sports and photo blog and I haven't been here for about a week too.

So enjoy this picture of Matthew West and his band in concert and I might have something more profound later. Although really I need to dedicate computer time to CEUs so I can keep my Kansas RN.

Also, we'll be taking inventories on Wednesday night, and that might provide blog fodder, although it will have to be either 1) encrypted or 2) edited for content. Can't be airing too much dirty laundries on the interwebs.

That reminds me--I need to do laundry tomorrow, so I need to go home NOW.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The praise band at Church of the Resurrection often plays this song as an instrumental prelude and postlude at the 5 pm services. It drove me crazy because I have heard it and sung it occasionally but I could never remember the title or enough words to have a successful search on the internet. Finally, tonight I asked Alison. It's called "Cannons" by Phil Wickham.


Back in the Choir Loft

We got to sing again!

Today we had some class work and education on singing with Scott and Vonda Dyer who have worked with Willow Creek Church. We rehearsed and we got to sing in worship in the 1700 service on Saturday, and will again on Sunday at 1700.

What did we sing? Well, we sang some of my favorite contemporary pieces and then we sang two new pieces. Here they are, courtesy of You Tube.

And now, for something completely different...a contemporary "dangerous song"--be careful Christian--do you mean what you sing?

Please to come and worship with us at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (, 137th St and Roe in Leawood, KS. Or on line at for the 1045 and 1700 (5 p.m.) Central time worship services on Sundays.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reflecting on That Moment

I became a Christian in October 1982 at an altar in a Nazarene church in Vermont.

I've been reflecting on that these past days due to where we are in our Step Study. I cannot imagine where I would be without my faith in Christ. Just can't imagine it.

So happy I decided to follow Jesus.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Super Christians

First, go read this blog entry from a UMC blogger: "Make No Wave United Methodist Church"

Now, there is a lot here in this tale of a pastor who dared to ask questions like "What is the church?" and "What is the church for?" but the part of the dialog that resulted between pastor and people representatives that jumped out at me was this:
Look, you’re young and we want to support you, but you need to be reasonable. People are busy — we have full lives. We don’t have time to be saints. We need you to do your job — lead worship, visit church members, teach confirmation, pray for us, and try to grow the church. We just don’t need you making things harder than they ought to be.
Since when did "being saints" need its own time allotment? When I wake up I'm a saint. When I go to bed I am a saint. When I drive my car I am a saint. When I go to work I am a saint. I'm a saint on Tuesday. I'm a saint on Friday. I'm a saint on Sunday. I don't have to do extra to want to become a better Christian. Yes, the Lord might ask me to sacrifice some time, or money, but I just have to trust Him to provide. There is no time that I am not seeking to be obedient and walk closer to my God.
Here's the other part of this dialog that got me, that broke my heart a little.
This kick you’re on to push; to make us feel bad about not doing enough?
I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. I’m just trying to offer people something better. I want to help people grow in their faith.
Well, that’s fine, but a lot of people are perfectly happy where they are.
Does the call to be more like Jesus, to live a holy life, to seek more of his Spirit, "make us feel bad"? It shouldn't. A pastor does tread a fine line, but the inflowing of the Holy Spirit causes a sensitivity to God's call to excellence. A pastor encourages the people to seek more and more of the holiness of God, as an outgrowth of the grace that they received at the time of their salvation. Lest I fall into the trap of making this all inside work, the holiness manifests itself in works of mercy and justice. These just comes naturally from the life of vibrant Christians who are saved by grace but are not satisfied themselves in just receiving, but want to give and lead others to the grace of God.If you can do nothing after salvation, you are still saved. Your salvation has no dependence on doing a "work" of any kind. The parable in Matthew 20 and the repentant thief demonstrate this.

God loved us so much He sent His Son to die for us. That's love. That is love that is not just designed to make us feel "fulfilled" (although it does); it's love designed to be spread around, both among fellow Christians and those outside the Church, looking for an answer to the deeper questions and needs of life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Seeking God

"There is no one who seeks God"--thus says a commenter on a blog.

He believes we are too sinful--totally depraved--to seek God.

OK, I believe that we are as bad as we can be. I do believe in "original sin." I agree with the statement from the CofN that we are "inclined to sin, and that continually..."

So we need help from God from the beginning to seek Him. He instills the hunger. He draws us to the places we need to go and to the people we need to see. It is God from beginning to end.

I can't believe that people are able to save themselves, but I do believe there is a consent of the will to go on with God's pushing and pursuing.

I remember one time a patient we transferred from the late IRHC to the late Baptist Hospital for psychiatric care. That person consented voluntarily to care; they were not on a 72 hour hold.
When the ambulance crew arrived at Baptist and opened the door, the patient jumped out and ran down Rock Hill Road. Remember, voluntary commitment. The patient could still chose not to get care. They were not pursued.

We can be like that with God, if we want. His salvation is always available, and for most that get as far as the ambulance ride, we take that salvation. A few of us do jump off the gurney at the last minute--we are not tied down. We, for the moment, withdraw the consent of our will.

Oh, by the way, that does not mean that God has stopped pursuing or that salvation is no longer available.

Some believe this doctrine makes God "weak." Remember, God put the hunger in us in the first place. Salvation is not limited to person or time--it is offered to all people all the time. Also not only does salvation offer forgiveness from sin, it does positive work in the believer via the Holy Spirit. I refuse to limit the work of God's salvation to particular people or a particular type of work in the human heart and soul.

Wesley said he was "hair's breadth" from Calvinism. That's because grace that goes before is working all the time, and often so quietly that it's hard to see exactly what causes the sin sick soul to turn and seek God. So it's hard to tell exactly when God stops and our will starts in each individual case. Even the Bible is not clear on this.

I let it rest, like the physics problem of light. It's like this: sometimes light acts like it is made out of waves propagating. Other times, light behaves as if it is made out of particles. Either way, it is still light, it still keeps me from tripping over the cat in the dark.

The grace of God is spiritual light. I don't always need to fully understand how spiritual light works, but I see how it illuminates souls. Until I reach Heaven, that will work for me.

Hysterical COR 20th Anniversary Video!

You just gotta see this!

I think a lot of fun was had making this video!

Happy 20th Anniversary to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This Is Where The Healing Begins

This song just gets more and more meaningful with every listen. 10th Avenue North with "This is Where the Healing Begins".

It begins kneeling at a mourning bench in the front of a church...

It begins with the words of Holy Scripture...

It begins with friendship with someone who can show you the Love that conquers all...

It begins in a group of people who were once strangers and are now friends...

It begins at a concert that turns into worship of the living God...

It begins with a broken and contrite heart coming to the Cross of Christ and meeting the Risen Savior...

Because that's what you find in all these places where the healing begins...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Need to Fix the Java

No, it's not that I need to learn how to be a barista. No, the Java on Google Chrome seems to be broken. I could not add color to my previous entry with the blog up in Chrome. I added it right snappy when I went to IE8, which I find slow and annoying much of the time. So I guess for some applications, until I figure out how to fix Java in Google Chrome, I'll be annoying myself in IE8 when I blog.

You Would Never Know That I Actually Like Being Around People

This really sums it up rather well. Usually I don't copy other people's work wholesale, but this pretty much nails it.

You would never know that I actually like being around people

This here is a blog. It's where I say shit that's on my mind, or link to videos of people popping zits, or tell jokes/stories, or whatever. Blogs have been around longer than the term "Social Media" which is very en vogue right now. I have to say tho, that for me blogging is all about the social, and very little about the media. Media in this case meaning using the technology to reach an audience for a professional reason like marketing or customer support.

I mean I KNOW some of you all do this shit for a living, but it started fro me as a way to keep in touch with people. I am not very good at writing letters/e-mails on impulse, or making calls just to catch up. [Important to say here that The Observer started the first blog became The Observer became sick of hollering at the radio in the car.] And you can see for yourself the long periods where I haven't done jack or shit on here. But STILL I maintain the blog is about me, it's a social exercise and more than a tad narcissistic. [The Observer is not as transparent at all times as this writer as The Observer is conscious of the fact that the internet is so very open, so sometimes the Observer is opaque about some things. Which can make The Observer a little crazy someti

If you tune in here, are my Facebook friend, or follow me on Twitter [it must be noted that The Observer does not Tweet at this point] you would be forgiven for thinking that I blow these social outfits off. The truth is that sometimes I just get chatty, but most of the time I just watch whats goin on with everybody else. I don't like being the center of attention, it makes me jittery. I love when people reach out to talk to me or to do something in the non-virtual world. When somebody says "let's get together" I am always excited, right up till it's about to happen. Then I start getting bummed out about being fat, or broke, or a gimp. I come up with a million reasons I'll have a bad time and try to talk myself out of it. When I go tho, I almost always enjoy myself.

Talking to people, online or in person, doesn't just forge connections and relationships it positively affects my self image. I am still uncomfortable when I am the center of attention (for example a rambling blog, or telling a story to a table of people). I tend to struggle to sound brighter/funnier than I am because I like the positive reinforcement. At the same time I am aware of that struggle and how I might come off as a blabbermouth or just really weird.

I just wanted all of you all to know that I appreciate the connections I have made with you, I just don't always express it. If I don't say anything to you in a while, rest assured it's NOT because I want to ignore anybody. I just suck at this social stuff sometimes. And as for the media, well I hate to be marketed at (tho I cut my SocMed practicing friends some slack).

OK kids, that's it I'm out!

Here is the link to the entry, which is in a journal type blog, some of the rest of which is kind of interesting also. I have interjected a few notes where our situations are different, but they really don't make a big difference in the impact of this entry.

Which brings me to one important thing: I really connected with a blogger called Ann T Hathaway and she hasn't blogged in at least three weeks. Not just that, she hasn't moderated her comments or responded to an email. First, selfishly, I really miss her writing! I miss her comments! She made me feel good, like the blogger above posted. She is very educated with a lot of different experiences and writes very well. But second, as the time has passed, I am getting really worried about her. Did she get injured riding her bike around Washington DC? Is she ill? The longer it goes without even a moderated comment on the blog, the more I worry. I probably shouldn't, since she's grown (around my age), but I do! Come back Ann T, even if it just to say "Good bye!"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Full to Overflowing

So much has been going on in my spiritual life that I don't even know where to begin. The fact that I am typing at 2303 in the McD's tells you this is not the entry that is going to sum it all up.

Here's something:
The thing I miss most about being financially stable: Being able to give freely. I miss it terribly.

OK that's all for now. Step Study is taking a week off (probably) and possible two weeks off (tell me it isn't so!) so maybe I'll have a chance to breathe.

Not that church hasn't given me plenty to think about...and the blogs too. And even Adam Hamilton's FB page...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2 Corinthians 5

My first hermeneutic efforts were with this passage, more or less. I read it as a benediction tonight after we talked about what happens when you repent and turn to Jesus, the change that happens and how you are released from sin and guilt, filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered and in general, made new. It's such a charge from Paul, first to the church in Corinth, and then to us. You have been made new--now you are an ambassador from the Kingdom of God to the world--you bring the King's regards and wishes.

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Mighty to Save" and "Ready Now"

Two songs with two different points of view of the process of transformation. One concentrates on God and his ability to save. The other is from the point of view of the yielded person--a song of consecration.

Here are the lyrics to the second:
Come like You promised You would
I want to surrender for good
I know that I need You and I don't
want to keep living life alone

So take this heart and make it new
Make it true make it like You
Take my hands I lift them high
Theyr'e Yours not mine to do

Do what You will
Do what You will
Do what You will

Find More lyrics at
I feel like a blind man in Your sight
I know that I'm wicked in Your eyes
So wash me and make me shine like Your
Son, I want to tell everyone that Your the only one

so take my heart and make it new

I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now, do what You will

I'm ready now
I'm ready now
I'm ready now

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's All Facebook's Fault!

Well, I joined Facebook, and a bunch of Grandview

Nazarene people found me there. That's good. And then I got an email from Dolores about Grandview Naz's 24 hour prayer day for their finances. Do I feel a little guilty? I do. For no good reason.
I think since I started at COR last August I have maybe given $100 total. And that might be generous. $75 is probably more like it. So my little piddly donations would not have helped a bit on the financial front. However it just highlights what is getting more and more ridiculous every week, at least to this sensitive and fastidious soul. You see, I just really believe that you don't change churches lightly.
On top of that, COR is celebrating 20 years, and considering the next 20 years in light of how the world changes and what can be done to continue to fulfill the mission and purpose of the church.
Now, I am not going to review all that stuff relative to changing churches right now. To me in fact the issue of where to go to church boils down to two issues of equal import when the rubber meets the road. Here they are:
1. Is that Body of Christ helping you grow in your faith? Helping you take up your cross and follow Him? Are you getting something out of worship? Does the preaching speak to your heart? Are you learning stuff? Are you fitting in with the Body? Is there true fellowship there?
2. Is there a place in that Body where you can serve? A place to help Christians in the body? A place to serve those outside the Body? Are you able to discover and more importantly, use the gifts, talents and graces that God has given you?
So the right church is a combination of you getting something from it, and them or it (meaning the other members of the body and those outside the body) getting something from you. It is not all about you.
In considering this there are two changes that make the thinking most challenging:
1. Size. Small church verses big church
2. Denomination. Conservative evangelical verse mainline Protestant. (Thankfully, both in the same theological tradition--that Armenian/Calvinist stuff gives me a headache!)
I really think I am done at Grandview. I am just not sure if there is a place for me there in ministry. I'm not sure if it's just because I am not bold enough to make up a place, or to make myself useful or make enough commitment or not humble enough to take on the more humble tasks or what. I just don't feel as if I ever made the transition from seminarian to regular person--it just felt like I ended up in this awful grey zone where I was nowhere and no one trusted me with anything.
Beyond that, I really don't have a clue. And even the proceeding is up for grabs.
Meantime, I am praying for the finances of the Grandview Church of the Nazarene. It is discouraging to minister and have to worry about money. Lord, you are the God with the cattle on a thousand hills. Provide for the church. Prick and convict hearts about giving. Show the Church Board the proper priorities. Help this church continue to minister in Grandview and the area as they have for over 50 years. Amen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Reflections

No I will never forget. Nope, not here. Not that event, taking down those towers I thought would be there until Jesus came back. Of all that happened in the great SUCK that was the year 2001, this was the worst, even though it had the least affect on me personally (although that could be questioned...)

First it's the visuals. Check that picture on the front page of the New York Times Wednesday edition. That's what many saw live when the second plane hit. I was spared all the worst live, but the image of the dust of the buildings, and the knowledge that many people died, the buildings were gone, and things would never be the same.

I have not always permitted myself to feel 9/11 fully. Sometimes, I have just shoved it to the back of my mind. Other times, I dressed it up in rah-rah. I know I did that sometimes while I was working at the VA. If I really think about it, I can tear up fast.

I still remember that day at work, and that night after work. We stayed steady busy in that suburban ER, never completely insane, but busy enough to keep us moving. I remember the groups of people gathered around every TV in the place. I remember the tension of rumors of further attack and the way it felt like we were on war footing right then that day. I remember stopping for gas at the Philips 66 on Grandview Road and Blue Ridge, grateful that they had not screwed around with their prices. I remember the uncertainty about the price of gas--and everything else.

I remember how we tended to treat each other gently that day, and for several that followed. (Now that I consider it, that may have made the later actions of my employer at the time seem even more heartless and calculated, but that's a matter for another post...) How could we give each other crap when we were being attacked out of (literally) the clear blue sky?

This is our Pearl Harbor. When it looks like we are starting to fade on our memories, we need to poke each other and say, "Never forget."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fifty...Fifty. Fifty! WTF?!?

Soon to be fifty--5 0
Good jumpin' God.

I got history. I mean I got personal history. I got history in the world. I have seen some shit.

MLK, RFK killed
Riots in the streets.
Vietnam moratorium. Controversy over wearing arm bands at Heaven Rest Day School. Remember that?
Prez Ford to NYC: Drop Dead
Odd and even gas rationing
Computers the size of rooms that didn't have half the computing power of this 2 year old laptop.
Cable TV because you didn't get any reception with rabbit ears. First invented for places like New York City.
Otherwise three channels and a prayer.
77 WABC in New York played music.
A prize to anyone who remembers who John Anderson was.
John Lennon killed
Prez Reagan assassination attempt.

I was just looking over J's friends after I sent her a FB friend request. OMG. Pastor B's boy--all grown up. That's number 2. Gerhard without any hair. All my friends keep getting older. OMG. Wow.

More history
Challenger exploding
9/11 attacks
Black Hawk Down
Columbia lost over Texas
In my life time, presidents--Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHWBush, Clinton, GWBush, Obama.
Chrysler bailed out and recovered, and then needing bailing out again.

From LP vinyl to 8 tracks to cassettes to CDs to downloads and YouTube...
Betamax--still have some.
Film to video tape to DVD to Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray's replacement is already on the horizon...

I have been very conscious of there being probably more life behind me than in front of me. I've been acutely aware of my mortality. I pray I live longer than mom, who got a full dose of long lived genes--both her dad and her mom's family live a long time. I only got the long lived genes from her--I don't trust my dad's genome at all.

If she lives to be 92, I'll be 70 that year. That would be 2030.

For now, let's leave it there. Only 48 days until my 50th birthday.

Get Back Up

I've been digging this song by Toby Mac about what we should do when we make mistakes and when we sin (even). We must persist and also instead of wanting to draw away from the God who loves us without condition, we need to go towards Him. His love is calling...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just a Note

I got all Facebooky on the other blogs...oh but not here! You have to work to find this place!

Some terrific blog entries on some of the Christian blogs that need at least comment, or practice comments put over here. One is on money using John Wesley as a spring point (Make all you can Save all you can Give all you can..yeah that guy) and the other is about trying to have the "Hippest church on the block, from a WSJ article. Good stuff.

I actually get to go to Step Study where did I put that workbook?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nice, But Not the Same (Especially on Communion Sunday)

I just missed church for the first time since I started going to COR. Sucks to make a living at a job that needs help seven days a week. (Last time that will happen, Lord willing. And leave my freaking Wednesday evenings alone too!) Well, I did attend online, via the webcast.

Unfortunately I missed all the music, my favorite part of worship. And the video kept pausing. (At least the audio flowed well after the first minute.)

Definitely not as good as being there.

It did dawn on me that sometimes I can go to church and not be greeted or spoken to by anyone who is not obligated to speak to me, and so sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by strangers was not all that different than sitting in a church sanctuary surrounded by strangers...

I did miss the whole visual, and auditory experience. And I definitely missed the bread and the cup.

Missing church sucks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Born Again

First, lyrics, of this really neat new song by Newsboys. Again, thanks to our stingy friends at EMI, the embed function is disabled, so here is the link to the video on YouTube.

Found myself looking into the mirror
Knew I wasn't who I wanted to be
I was living like the way that I wanted
But my eyes reminded me I'm not free
Believe that I saw, everything that I know
Says I gotta go, tired of going solo
But I'm never gonna go there again

This is what it is
This is who I am
This is where I finally take my stand
I didn't want to fall, but I don't have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands
Givin' him the best of, everything that's left of
The life inside this man
I've been Born Again

I see you're walking like you're living in fear
Having trouble even looking at me
Wishing that they give you more than words
Sick of people telling how it should be (how it should be)
What's your download, where'd you get your info
Saw that I'm show, now you're in the in-load
I'm gonna tell you what I believe, OH


We are the ones, he called by name
Never gonna look back
Let go, let go the guilt the shame
I said I'm never gonna look back
This is who I am

(Chorus 2x)

I am Born Again

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I was reading a book from the $1 pile at Mardel's. You'd be surprised at what goodness can be snatched out of the remainder pile. The book is called Live to Tell by Brad J. Kallenberg. He's a professor at Dayton and works in campus Christian ministry. I'm not going to try to sum up the book, as I am still trying to "get it" but he had this fabulous quote. It's even more fabulous when seen through the prisms of these blog entries by John Meunier and Andrew Conard.
Thus the most liberal of churches appear able to maintain the best of relations with secular culture, but no longer have anything distinctive to say to it! Righteousness has been reduced to equality, agape has paled to fraternity, sin has been replaced with maladjustment, and salvation has become mere civility.
The failure of liberalism, then is not one of intent--Schleirmacher sincerely wished his friends to embrace Christianity--but one of strategy: by attempting to translated the gospel into terms understandable to the modern mind, the liberal wing of the church lost the farm. My fear is that the conservative wing of the church, for all its emphasis on missions, evangelism, and church growth, is simply reproducing an already deeply flawed strategy. (p. 52)
Often the liberal church has lost its distinctive. It's distinctive is God, in all His persons. I still look back to Paul telling the Corinthians--this is the second time I have found myself thinking of this Scripture--that preaching Christ was a stumbling block and an offense. Here's the passage, from 1 Corinthians 18-25.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Not that we should be running around intentionally being offensive, but know that we preach Christ to sinful people who are not always ready to stop clinging to their sin, and they will throw up objections and be offended by the claims of Christ. This is all part of the process of evangelism. I have believed that evangelism is a process culminating in a crisis for a long time. Sometimes the process is short, and sometimes long. God is a patient God, not willing that any should perish, and He treats us like the individuals we are.

In the meantime, the church must never stop preaching the offense of God. We must keep our distinctive, otherwise the church becomes just another good civic organization. And we must keep up with our times, knowledgeable about the culture around us, but definitely different from it. Our biggest distinctive is love--the love of God that sent Christ to the Cross and empowers the Holy Spirit to guide and change lives. It must be shown to each other, as the Scripture instructs, and to the non believer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wesley Would Have Blogged and Tweeted

There is no doubt in my mind that John Wesley would have a blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook page, don't you think? But I also think that Wesley would have insisted that everyone come together face to face too. He would have used the social media as a tool, the same way he saw his field preaching back in the day, but never as a substitute for the community of the small groups that he and Charles formed.

There truly is no other way to reach maturity in Christ and aspire to Christian perfection without others encouraging, loving, rebuking, and praying for you along the way.

But Wesley would have been happy to use the social media to introduce you to the living Christ and the powerful Holy Spirit.


A great song and a great video. Check it, Inside, by Jared Anderson.

The Motions

There hasn't been near enough music around here lately...this song so speaks to me. Part of me wants to do the ultimate video, the other part of me wants to sing it loud from the stage. If I could get through it without crying...

Not the official video, as EMI disabled the embed (again :-P) but pretty darn good work by the poster.
Here are the lyrics:
This might hurt
It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care
If I break
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way

Not PC

Islam is a conquering religion. Islam does not tolerate non-muslims very well. Islam conquers at the point of the sword on a regular basis.

Jesus Christ is not very God and very man in Islam.

Christians cannot say that Islam is the same as Christianity--that is foolishness.

We preach Christ crucified and resurrected, an affront and a stumbling block.

Christians can love Muslims, but they cannot forget that Islam is wrong, just like JWs are wrong and Mormons are wrong.

I am so not PC on this. I am not sure I would ever put this on SKC Observer--I would be toast. But I believe it, just as I do believe that Jesus is the only sure way to Heaven. I do believe that God is generous and loving and will try to find a way to have Heaven open to as many as possible, but if you reject Jesus Christ and God you will find yourself on the other side--the bad side.

Yup, not PC.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ithiel Falls Camp

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Ithiel Falls has a freaking Facebook page! But it's good to see the old place still going, the big meeting house still basically the same, most of the buildings still the same (from the photos) and one of the oldest, if not the oldest church "Camp Meetings" still going on. I made my total commitment to Christ in this place (yeah, that "entire sanctification" thing.) and had some wonderful times. There was one summer I got to spend overnight time at the camp--it was awesome to have the daytime, with the kids, and also not to feel the pressure to go home--and the bother of the drive--but just to soak in the atmosphere. Great memories, and times that I touch back to, to remind myself of what the Lord has done.

Photo is from that Facebook page.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My s Aren't Workin (Neiter are my s.)

Every so often my computer decides to act oofy Te backspace button, te s te and te apostrope stop workin. It is not consistant, and sometimes it will fix itself, or fix wit a few tender pats on te bottom of te macine. Its really bad tonit and even after a reboot is still oin on. I decided to write a oofy post on SF to demonstrate wat a pain in te ass tis is.

I was ponderin a post on Obamas fait status, as tis as been a ot topic on talk radio all day, and I mit do it if I can stand tis wit te h's and the g's. (I can et tem if I old te key, ten release, ten pus aain. Argh!!!!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Post: The Indy Bike Hiker on Holiness

If I had to point to people who were instrumental in my spiritual development, this man would be one of them. He taught me to care about community in the context of the church, introduced me to Christian recovery principles, and preached and taught in extraordinary ways. He was my pastor for just one year, but his ministry to me has lasted much longer than a year. During his one year at the church he was under tremendous personal stress from many things in his own life and life history. I can't go into details much, but that year, and the next few were pivotal in his life. Despite all the changes and challenges, God continued to use this talented man in His service, to draw people to him.

I hope to meet my friend John again sometime on this side of Heaven, if nothing else but to thank him. Here's John on Wesleyanism's cardinal doctrine, Holiness or Christian Perfection.


Instead of hardcore doctrine in legalese, holiness seems to me more like art

TRYING HARD TO BE HOLY. I grew up with lots of preaching about being holy. Holiness was not something left to God or saints of the past. It was pressed upon us as a spiritual state and behavior that is possible, expected, and normal in life—here and now. According to the doctrine, anything less than living to the glory of God—that is, living to please only God with integrity, honesty, love for all, and in avoidance of sin—was abnormal. It was to make us holy and to make holy living normal that Jesus Christ was born, crucified and resurrected, we were told. And the folks in our church and circles tried hard to be holy. They took it very seriously and their seriousness often translated into stifling sternness, rigidity, misplaced judgment, and an obsession for perfection.

INVITING SONG. I have since thought that the value of holiness teaching is not missed at the point of attempting, but at the point of the heaviness most attempting foments. One of the scriptures we were frequently quoted was, “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9). That oft-repeated verse, and others like it, came off like a heavy-handed warning, like a command that thundered from above. But, in fact, the phrase is taken from poetry. It is one line of an exuberant, inviting song. Even the phrase “beauty of holiness” suggests something very different from the stifling and restricting context out of which holiness was preached.

LEGALESE OR POETRY? “The beauty of holiness.” What an interesting phrase. It sounds like a work of art by the mind and hand of an artist. Could it be that holiness is not the domain of miter-hatted teachers, nor the terrain of linear-thinking dogmatists, but the milieu of heart-longing, soul-searching artists? Is holiness the language of legalese or the tongue of poetry? Is it historical genre or avant-garde? Is holiness best defined or described? Is it requirement or reflection?

IMAGINATION AND PLAYFULNESS. As a doctrine, holiness lacks imagination and playfulness. It is heavy and solemn when it might be light and whimsical. If one would be holy, contemplate the actions and attributes of the Holy One. The first act of God is to create. A mere walk in the woods reveals that God is first of all creative with a diversity beyond our wildest imaginations. If God is holy, then holiness includes beauty, creativity, imagination, variety, humor, music-making, dance and drama. God is jester in God’s own court.

UNCAPTURED CREATEDNESS. The saints in my childhood church were led to believe their goodness rested in their assent to holiness doctrine and the suspicion-guided restrictions by which they abided. But I believe their goodness rested in their createdness and the part of their being no doctrine can capture. For all their austerity and solemnity, they could not help but occasionally be playful and exuberant. Grace breaks through even to those who do their best to douse it.

MAKING THE CASE. To me, the most compelling case for living in reflection of the holiness of God is found in the music of holiness folk. Songs reflecting heart-felt experiences of sojourners linger with the soul long after preaching is forgotten and doctrinal dictums dismissed. Wesleyan songs sing spiritedly and in amazement of a grace that reaches deeper than the stain of sin has gone. They reflect hope for hurting, longing hearts—hope that realizes its source and fulfillment in the mercy and grace of God in Christ. So, Charles Wesley sings:

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,

Grace to cover all my sin.

Let the healing streams abound;

Make me and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the Fountain art;

Freely let me take of Thee.

Spring Thou up within my heart;

Rise to all eternity.