Thursday, May 29, 2008

Desire Satisfied

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists...if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of "Heaven" ridiculous by saying they do not want "to spend eternity playing harps." The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them.

All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible... People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.


C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman was a huge influence in my early days as a Christian. I loved (and still love) his music, but I think I was more impacted by his apparent integrity, humility, honesty, and love for God and people. Steven and Mary Beth are also a big promoters of adoption, having formed an organization called Shaohannah’s Hope to aid families who want to adopt but can't afford it.

Their youngest child (Maria) died Wednesday evening after being accidently struck by their car in the driveway. The driver, was one of their other sons.

I can't imagine losing a child. Counseling people tell me that death of a child is the worst grief; worse than losing a spouse, or sibling or parent. Many couples who lose a child to death, their marriages don't survive or are permanently damaged.

But I really can't imagine how difficult this situation must be on a family. Even though this appears to be an accident, the feeling of guilt and blame and regret would be overwhelming. The feelings of guilt of the son. The resentment and anger that might be felt by the parents. The questions.

Only God.

Only God can heal stuff like this. And you know, in this life, we all know people who never recover... even after giving it to God. But if you have a moment, please pray for this family. My prayer is that in the midst of this they will experience healing, grace, forgiveness and the strong presence of the One who makes all things new.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

Volunteer Recruitment

Okay, I begin by saying that Granger Church is often over the top. Often, way too over the top for my personal tastes.

But I think this is absolutely hilarious.

Monday, May 19, 2008


In an age where movies are sometimes 90 percent or more CG, I love it when people go back to the basics. I suspect this is exactly what it seems to be. A person drawing this frame by frame over a long period of time, taking pictures, and putting this together.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Perspective: the curve

Life Lesson: Whenever you think your child is smart...there is always someone to throw off the grading curve.

And if you need some help...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

To my readers who are moms, "Happy Mother's Day!"

This is my mom (um... the one on the right). She is the greatest. It's funny, I realize my wife is a mom, but at this point, equating Mother's Day with her just seems a bit strange. Mother's Day is for MY mom. Who, unfortunately, is living in Florida and I never get to see on Mother's Day. (I really wanted to spend the day with her. I guess I just miss my mommy.)

More and more I realize who I am has been shaped by my parents. So much of me... formed by mom and dad. I was thinking last week: my love for cooking, reading and study I got from mom (she is a fantastic cook -- my brother was a chef and I know how to boil a mean cup of water myself). We both got that from her.

It's funny what you remember about your childhood. I can always remember asking my mom questions... and her answering them. I remember conversations... even as a little kid. So often, I hear kids ask, "Why?" and parents just ignore it. (They ask why a LOT!). But my memory is that my mom always answered that question. And to me... it was not about the answer... but that she communicated with me.

I have always thought (and still think) that my mom is one of the two smartest women in the world (I have to put my wife up there too!). She was an amazing English teacher (5th grade) and was a school principal (2 elementary schools and a Jr. High). As a magician who used to do school assembly shows, I could tell a good principal from a bad one pretty easily -- simply by the behavior of the students when they gathered together for an assembly. My mom's schools were always amazing. Well behaved. Well-Mannered. She always commanded respect. I always loved my mom... but I also have a great deal of respect for her. She is a strong, bright, talented woman. Much of what I look for and respect in women, I got from her. (Those of you who know me know I'm drawn to friendships with strong, smart women... I want someone who can spar with me. :)

I just really like my mom.

And soon, my parents are coming home. And I hope they will spend as much time with us as they possibly can. I still have lots to learn.

You know, I was going to write more... but I just decided to call my mom instead.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Taming the text and being "relevant"

This is an excerpt from an article written by Rob Bell and printed in the book, "The Younger Evangelicals" by Robert E. Webber.

I know a lot of people don't like Rob. But it is stuff like this that keeps me reading him.

"...We actually believe that the biblical text is a living and breathing Word. For the first year or so of our existence as a church, I preached through the Book of Leviticus, verse by verse.

Yes that’s right.
Menstrual blood, goat sacrifice, and no shell fish, please.
Every verse.

Now if you at this moment are smiling or laughing or thinking that is crazy, what have you just said about the biblical text? Do you have a canon with a canon? Either you believe that God speaks through his entire text, or you stick within the evangelically approved texts that are tamed down enough for the local congregation.

We have no desire to tame the text. We want to let it out of its cage and we want to see it prowl around our lives, devouring us and spitting out the bones. We don’t want to be detached, methodical scientists who stand over the subject and apply the proper rules, methods, and procedures so that we can achieve favorable results. The modern impulse is always to reduce it to simple principles and clever maxims. To continually insist that with enough work, it will all make sense and line up.

Life doesn’t always line up.

We love the Scriptures and we want them to sweep us off our feet.

In the new world, much of what is currently considered preaching and study will be rendered totally irrelevant. The Bible is not a nice book. It is not a clean book. It is not a guide to proper behavior. It does not even seem to care whether it is “relevant” or not.

I have asked the congregation to please never tell me that my message was “nice”.

The Bible is a revolutionary manifesto that could get you killed in many parts of the world. It is living, it is breathing, and it demands that we surrender to it unconditionally so that it can transform us."

Friday, May 02, 2008