Wednesday, September 27, 2006

poetics 3

In the Old Testament, the message that is preached today was being given to us by poets. We have reduced the poet to the recitation of what we already know while often preachers break down, analyze, codify, lengthen and explain the magic right out of the poetry that was originally given us.
We have developed a cultural paradigm that has a single person standing before a congregation in a one-way dissemination of information, while we allow the poet only to sing songs that everyone already knows. The preacher delivers his message to a quiet congregation who are expected not to interact or participate with him, and the poet is not allowed to sing unless everyone in the congregation is participating.
Four and a half years ago, when I first began leading worship week after week with the same congregation, there was a Deliriou5? lyric that encouraged me greatly, “I’ve got a message to bring – I can’t preach, but I can sing – and me and my brothers here – we’re gonna sing redemption hymns.” I owned that lyric and mourned that as a poet/prophet, I was not expected to teach or preach but to facilitate community in corporate singing. I decided that both were possible at the same time and set about subversively causing the congregation to sing the message to themselves every week. Each week, I brought a message to the congregation, but I brought it to them through their own mouths.
Some never heard the message. They were too distracted by how old and tired, or new and unfamiliar the song was, or how fast or loud or slow or boring, or how high my tenor voice delivered the melody. Others, fewer, caught on. Their attention spans went beyond the authentic cadence and tempo change and introduction to the next song and saw the big picture and how it all worked together to tell a single, specific story. And they sang the story to themselves, and after the preaching was finished, and the blanks were filled in from the sermon outline, and we sang the closing song, they kept singing the message, they kept rehearsing the story and each week the story grew more real and immediate and necessary and deep and personal and it took root and changed us and shaped us and grew us and humbled us. The songs became a part of the story so that even a whistle of a portion of a melody became like the tassels on the robe of a rabbi and called up memory and assurance and promise and hope and truth.

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Monday, September 25, 2006



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Sunday, September 24, 2006

mighty rushing gentle breeze

From focused attention
Dimmed lights and spots
Practiced moments
Climate controlled

Into the bright light of morning,
and the appearance-wrecking wilds of the outdoors.
My shirt-tail flaps, my skin breathes, and my hair gets knotted.
Blow where you will,
I’ll follow.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

the stealth of time

When autumn comes, it doesn’t ask
It just walks in where it left you last
You never know when it starts
Until there’s fog inside the glass around your
Summer heart.

-John Mayer

I was at the kitchen table with Allison when it walked in at 12:03 this morning. I didn’t notice until she had gone to bed and left me there to contemplate the beginning of the changing season.
It is a promising first day of fall. I’m sure the first day of fall feels lots of pressure to provide the feeling that though a good thing is passing, what is coming will be no less, in its own way.
That is today. Summer is officially gone.
The night skies are deep and dark, growing longer, lit with myriad stars; and the afternoons are a deep blue that summer has never seen. Today’s deep blue is accented with cottony white of every shape unimaginable.
I dreamed about Orion last night. I really did. I was sitting on my deck and one by one, those bright belt-stars appeared above the trees behind the house. He was lying on his back holding his shield upward as he does in the fall, and then climbs to his feet as he moves over the cul de sac. But he’s not there yet. He’s still hunting during the day and rises just before the sun, who rose directly due East this morning.
The leaves are still green and the afternoons warm, but that will stealthily change. Quietly, the dew will fall early, the palette will glow, and chill of evening will need a fire.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

new moon shine

“’twas on this day we were married.” That was my announcement to which Molly replied, “Yeah, way back in the 1900s!”

This year seems to mark a milestone to me. Ages and anniversaries ending in zero seem to be a big deal.
This year we’ve treated like a Jubilee year. We’ve stretched our anniversary into months. So today means little more than the year has meant. We spent a week on a tiny island under the Full Thunder Moon. We visited family and rode our bikes through the cornfields under the Full Grain Moon. We’ve basked and struggled, fought and loved, rested and worried, shared hopes and disappointments.
We’ve danced our 20th year of marriage.
Today begins our second 20 years, and it’s symbolized by the birth of the Harvest Moon. Tonight the old moon goes dark and closes a chapter, while the new moon begins to grow.
Last year, the harvest moon shown bright, rising at nearly the same time each evening and moving across the sky throwing shadows in its wake. On the 20th, it was barely beginning to wane. I waxed on about moons and their relationships with Allison’s and my relationship, culminating on that, our 19th anniversary.
But this year’s Harvest Moon isn’t full until October 6, which means this anniversary gets observed under a dark new moon. For the next two weeks, the moon will grow a bit each night, a fresh new Harvest Moon to represent the commencement of the next 20 years of marriage.

May we also grow brighter each day, and find beauty in the waxing and waning. May we be forever tidally locked, showing one another the same constant face midst the ebb and flow. May our love be as faithful as the sunrise and as sure and growing as the waxing moon. May our marriage be as bright and colorful as the autumn, may our love be as deep and obvious as the monochromatic night sky.

It's multi-hued and saturated.
It's black and white delineated.
It's purple and orange backlit.

Dance with me tonight beneath the Milkyway. Stand with me and shine in the darkness of the new moon. Gaze up into the expanse and then deep into my eyes and find no less depth of love. the years go by...

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

poetics 2

Though the New Testament is filled with references to the embracing of Mystery, somehow modern man is set on a path by which all mystery has been understood, explained, codified, and finalized so that if one speaks at all concerning things he doesn’t understand, and he admits it, he is accused of rejecting truth and the revelation of God “given fully to us.” If one dares admit what Paul admitted, and say, “not that I have attained…,” he is accused of rejecting the magic potion of certitude given the elect. I can’t help it if my doctrine allows that God is so much other than me, beyond my comprehension, that I am lost in the wonder of him and have to rely on the Holy Spirit to interpret my groans and direct my supplication. Am I the last person for whom peace passes understanding? If I truly understand Lewis’ words, “The one whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow/ when I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou”, have I rejected knowledge that God has revealed to me? Or could it be that we’ve become unsatisfied with the revelation God has given us and demand to see more of him than “where he’s just passed by?” Perhaps given only this, we can only ask, “who will I say that you are?” And given an unsatisfactory answer, we set about creating our own definition that is logical, rational, reasonable, observable and repeatable and thus defendable to our logical, rational, reasonable, observable and repeatable unbelieving friends.
But the truth is, when we question the ineffable Name with our logic and reason, he answers, “who do you think you are?” and proceeds with so much poetic mystery, that I’m given to give up and accept that I can’t understand. The only reason this has ceased to be answer enough for everyone else, is that for so long it has not been the answer given.
I remember a quote from Peterson (I think he was quoting someone else), “we mustn’t pretend to know more than we do.” It is amazing how we explain away our arrogant need to pretend we know more than we do. We read the psalms pieced out, and fail to visit with the psalmist on a hillside contemplating that “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”. And when we’re confronted with this concept, we explain that the psalmist didn’t have the revelation that we’ve since received that allows us to understand God’s lofty ways.

Last year, I shared with you that I’d delivered a talk called, “Poet, Prophet, Pastor, Preacher,” which led to another talk delivered to a good many people, a good many of whom disagreed with much of what I had to say. Since I gave that talk, I’ve continued to think about shifting roles and emphasis of those who are called, gifted, and operate as such. My thinking began as a response to the oft-heard question in our changing Christian culture, “is the poet taking over the role of the preacher?” I’m not going to repeat everything I’ve said, (at least not yet) but I’ll simply say that we’ve so narrowly defined the roles of each of these by methodologies that we don’t realize that the message is common among them. Folks are once again listening to the poets because we’ve had plenty of definitions of indefinable things. We are hungry for pictures, story, descriptions and testimony. The role of the poet in the OT was preaching, but the role of preaching today is often deconstructing poetry.
The important things in life require art to mean. In all honesty, which of these would you least desire to share with someone else? This? Or this? How about this?
Likewise, after having pondered this, I am far more apt to find hope in this.
And this tiny snippet of poetry speaks not only of the mystery, but embracing it, humbly resolves that it can't be explained.

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

a day (+45 minutes) in the life

It’s been quite a while since I simply retrospectively blogged the day’s scheduled duties. I finished yesterday so whipped, I thought it appropriate to beg for pity from anyone who might chance upon my blog today.
So I woke yesterday morning to face an extremely emotional day. This I already knew. But I had no idea how the whole day would play out because everyone in my sphere and family (including me) don’t find it necessary to inform others of what you’re going to be needing them for until it is past time to have begun doing whatever it is.

So here’s how it played:

7:00 am – Rouse my own 3 hooligans and one extra that I’d acquired last night when I collected Jack from Marble Slab.

7:50 am – realizing that there’s no way I’ll get all 4 kids out of the house 5 minutes ago when I should have left, I drive off without them.

8:45 am – after providing groovy wah-heavy guitar for the gospel number in first service, I return home to collect the hoodlums. I rush back to prepare the troops for set-up and sound check at 9:15 for the 2nd and 3rd services.

10:45 am – I duck inside the kitchen to avoid blessers, enquirers, well-wishers, huggers, tearful eyes, and good-riddancers.

12:00 pm – finished closing song 26 seconds before Jack and Will stormed my area to tell me they had to hurry to Bellacino’s for a lunch meeting. “hurry, we’re going to be late.”
Meanwhile, blessers, enquirers, well-wishers, huggers, tearful eyes, are backed up at the edge of the stage waiting to speak to me.

12:26 pm – finally make it to car with gear and find very angry boys who are sure that life will end if they’re late to Bellacino’s. In the car, 4 hyenas chatter incessantly as I back out of my parking space directly into the bumper of the last person to hug me before I left the building.

12:45 pm – I carefully leave the parking lot and drive to Bellacino’s where I realize that I’ve left my wallet at the church and have no money to give the yahoos for lunch. Will, the wealthy family member, covers me and I drive off to take the extra kid home. I realize that I should have run out of gas yesterday and am panicked until I get to the gas station where I realize that no money to give the boys also means no money for gas. So I pray hard all the way back to the church and down the street to the gas station.
Miraculously, I make it.

1:15 pm – drop off extra teenage acquisition and head towards home with Molly, open the truck door, let her out, and drive back to Bellacino’s for the boys.

1:45 pm – arrive home. Take a deep breath. Realize that there is no way I’ll survive this day without ridding stress and adrenaline. So I change clothes head to the gym for a quick adrenaline draining.

3:30 pm – Molly and I head back to church for a rehearsal for me and a rehearsal for her. At 5:45, I leave rehearsal unfinished to go home for the boys and drop them at their respective small group locations.

6:30 pm – return home and talk to Allison as she dresses for work. I kiss her goodbye at 7:00 and warm a slice of pizza from Bellacino’s.

7:15 pm – go to gas station to fill can so that I can rescue Allison who has run out of gas and is stranded with her bike on the side of the road.

7:40 pm – pick up Molly late from church, collect the gear I’d left at the abandoned rehearsal, listen attentively to 75,000 words, stop by grocery store on way to collect the boys at their respective small group locations, 10 minutes late for each.

8:15 pm – arrive home. Slop some burrito goo on the stove and tell the rugrats I love them, but they’ll have to fend for themselves as I collapse for a temporary gathering of energy.

5:00 am – wake to early birds chirping outside the window, walk out onto the deck and consider jumping, change mind and sit down and have an hour silence before the kids wake up and begin the bustle.

7:15 am – drop Molly and her ‘cello off at school and return home to an abandoned, quiet, messy house.

7:45 amCOFFEE

all’s well that ends well.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

poetics 1

I’ve decided to stop being apologetic about posting the same things over and over. Chances are no one remembers what I say from one day to the next anyway. If I don’t make a big deal out of it, or even mention that I’ve rambled on before about the same things, maybe no one will care. A blog is only supposed to be a record of current thoughts anyway, right? So here we go again, without apologies.

Recently, a friend told me she’d begun to write down things I say from time to time because she’d noticed how often I make poetic statements. I deflected the fact that I was “puffed” by that statement by joking around and quoting lines of Whitman, Shakespeare, Donne, Poe, and any other random piece of poetry that popped into my head. The randomness of it got some laughs which was therapeutic, and I was assured that those lines wouldn’t be included in the scrapbook I might some day be given filled with random pieces of poetic prose that had inadvertently fallen from my lips.
I was sharing this with another friend who had once been my student, who replied, “remember when at the end of the semester, I gave you a file filled with quotes we’d collected through the semester?” Of course I remember that, but those were just manneristic quips and rodisms. That got a smile.
Secretly, I took that as an outrageously wonderful compliment, no matter how exaggerated. In our human need for affirmation, we’ll grab onto any feeling that our quirks, or unique mannerisms are useful or endearing in any way.
We live in a world where beauty and art have been reduced to trite, cheesy, nostalgic, self-indulgent sentimentality. But evidently my personality, though overly emotional, is colored so much by my purple melancholy and thinly veiled, unsuccessfully hidden cynicism that my poetic, artistic bent rarely comes off as sentimental. But at the same time, it is fueled by hope and imagination and dreams, so that it doesn’t come off as doomsday pronouncement.
You may think that I’m so arrogant that you can’t figure out why on earth I’d need affirmation at all. You may think that my whole problem is that I grab affirmation for that which ought not be affirmed, and that, all too often. But the truth is, I’m a round peg in a square whole. The fact that I feel confined and boxed in doesn’t mean that I think I’m too big for the box, it just means that I’m an entirely different shape than the box in which I’m asked to live and operate. I spent a good deal of my adult life trying to shape-shift into something that my peers would recognize. This was probably needed, and no doubt, helped shape me into the strange shape whose non-comformist form became increasingly obvious over time. But thank God, he eventually put strangely shaped people, and normally shaped people who valued strangely shaped people around me to encourage and affirm precisely at those moments when I’d decided that the best thing to do would be to squeeze inside and lop off the parts that didn’t fit.

So I began to think about why I desire the creative, emotional, poetic expression over the analyzed, overly certain voice of scientific reason and logic. I began to think of Jesus’ poetic way with words and how his poetry always emphasized the hope and promises of his message rather than the dire warnings to which we’ve reduced him.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and The Life, no man comes to the Father except through me,” has been translated into “I’ll choose who gets to heaven.”

“I’ve come that they might have life, and have it to the fullest,” has sadly been interpreted as, “hang on, because when you die, you’ll finally be happy.”

“Receive my Spirit,” has been grown into, “5 steps to being ‘Spirit-filled.’”

At what point has the gospel been reduced to a warning? Why has the good news been reduced to accusation and judgment? And why has the Mystery of mysteries been reduced to a mathematical proof?

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Saturday, September 16, 2006





No spring nor summer beauty
hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
~John Donne

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

means vs. expression

Occasionally, I hear a single comment, a single sentence that seems to explain mindsets, or philosophy, or disconnects, or misunderstandings that have previously had me completely stumped. Often, these aha statements come in the form of a criticism or complaint that gives just enough information to shed light on the fact that the whole of the purpose in what is being complained about is lost on the complainer. It happens often enough that I try to name the mindset. I like the term “functional form fallacy” because it sounds so modern and confusing with the alliteration and allusion to opposites. “Hey that new yard stick we bought isn’t long enough, it won’t even hold a gallon.” Ok, I made that up, but that is the form fallacy I encounter frequently. Something is being evaluated based on a function that it is not intended for or designed to do.
This is a mindset that I am ultra familiar with. In terms of art, we normally cast our bias in our evaluation of a work based on our purpose for art regardless of the purpose of the artist. I might be angry because a painting caused me to feel a different way than I like art to make me feel, and therefore deem it unsuccessful or even worthless. The artist, however, may have intended for me to feel exactly how it made me feel. He then, feels very successful.
Beyond cultural biases and personal preferences, I am amazed at how ubiquitous this blind spot is and into what areas we insert our personal desires and misunderstandings. Art is intended and suited for a much bigger purpose than being observed or heard and deemed beautiful. It teaches us. It teaches us a variety of things. It gives us a look at our selves. It inspires us. It demonstrates how to express what is inside us. But all too often we only allow it to show us a fuzzy, artificial painting of a flower, it inspires us to allow ourselves to look at more paintings of flowers, it teaches us how to paint a fuzzy picture of a flower. We fail to realize that it is art not because it was a flower, or it was painted in a certain way; but that it represents an expression of a feeling of the artist, it represents the artist’s perception and emotion upon viewing a flower. Were we to realize this, our inspiration would be to allow ourselves to feel about something the way the artist felt about the flower, to respond to the feeling in some way as the artist did by painting, and accept the freedom to share that emotion with other people. Art should teach and inspire us to feel and express, not to imitate and copy someone else’s expression. The painting of the flower is not the art at all, it is the act of painting the flower, and the experiencing of it, that is art. I think it is demeaning to art, and the artist, to copy the object rather than the expression - the means rather than the motivation. But it is our way to settle for less than we’ve been given. It is important to realize that though someone else may do something better than me, it doesn’t mean that I am doing it in the best way by copying them.

Recently I heard from a minister of music, “we have this huge psalter, a hymn book, sandwiched inside our bible. Beautiful worship - how dare we think that we can write better words, poetry and worship than can already be found there?” This represents to me a very different initial response than I have to what purposes the Psalms serve. But I think my initial response is caused by a very different approach to observing, evaluating and learning. Though it is not uncommon to actually rehearse the Lord’s Prayer corporately, few of us would hold to the conviction that Jesus’ words, “this, then, is how you should pray,” mean that what follows as example is the only legitimate words that we can use to interact with God. Oddly enough, nowhere in the Psalms is it stated, “this, then, is how you should worship.” If I were truly to hold to the idea that the Psalms contained the expression and words that were more worthy than my own heart feelings and response to God, then somehow I’d have to understand how I’m worshipping by singing about bashing babies’ heads against rocks.
Also, if I can have a bigger understanding of the purposes of the psalmist’s words being included in the bible, then I might realize that not only can I learn to express, as he did, my own love, awe, wonder, gripes, pains, laments, but I can also learn what responses, he had that weren’t appropriate by noting how God responded to him. The narrative about David’s life, and activities and personality when read with the psalms, give a complete story of a lifestyle of interaction, worship and correction with God. It teaches us much more than content for a procedure that takes place at an intentional gathering during a short specific time.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

a limited warranty

Every now and then, some minor incident happens that wakes one up to the fact that accidents can happen to anyone, not just other people. No doubt, every day we pass by death like some oblivious character in a short film who walks down the street with his earbuds in while pianos fall 5 stories onto the side walk precisely where his last step was, cars careen onto the sidewalk and take out plate-glass windows brushing his pant leg, trees fall across the sidewalk tearing down the picket fence and smashing the windshield of a car parked at the curb, but it all misses and he moves on unaware. A few years ago, I went to the electric box to turn off a circuit and since it was already off, I turned it on instead. I headed up to the attic and wired a 220 junction box while it was live. I didn’t realize it until I went back to the electric box to find it turned on.
Sometimes we hear about something that has happened moments after we leave a place or moments before we arrive. Sometimes we do really stupid things that remind us that there is very little difference between stupid things that matter little and stupid things that change your life or even propel you to the next.
Several days ago, Allison and I were getting ready to go to the gym when I pulled my bike out of the garage, went back in and hit the door button and tried to sneak out as the door went down. I had to stoop under the door and step over the infrared beam that would stop the door from closing. I leaned and hopped and hit the ground. This is not an activity for an old guy with a ruptured disk to be involved in. I lay there for a good while before Allison noticed and rushed down from the street probably thinking my heart had stopped or something. Still hurting a week later.
I do stupid things like this all the time. That’s why I am SO careful on my bike. I’ve got to watch out for other people’s stupid things as well.
Today I was working on my truck AGAIN, and of course each time I try to cut corners and make the next repair attempt quicker and easier. I didn’t disconnect the battery. So I remove the alternator, the alt/pulley bracket and proceed to try to pry out a freeze plug. I’ve got a wrench in my left hand and screw driver in my right when my wedding band taps the alternator wire hanging there live. My ring enjoys contacting the wire and conducting the wrench in my palm. I looked like the Emperor Palpatine with sparks shooting from my fingers while I was inadvertently gold plating both the top of my wrench and the alternator wire. Allison will never have to worry about me taking off my wedding band to pick up chicks because I’ve been branded.
Anyway, it’s the latest incident to remind me of my humanity (and lack of good sense). Of course I survived, and am reminded that I’m invincible as long as I’m alive, and I’m only immortal for a limited time.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

a future or+hodoxy

A while back, I read Brian McLaren’s A Generous Or+hodoxy all disjointed and out-of-order. I was preparing a talk to give to the faculty for a “professional development” session, and knew that some of his stuff would come up as challenges to me. Last week I decided to read it again, from the beginning forward this time. So I took it to the gym with me to read during rest time between sets (this week’s Jesus Asked podcast episode was a corrupt file). As I read through Chapter 0 (for mature audiences only) I chuckled every time he mentioned that it might be a good idea if I returned the book to the store. Finally, when I’d once again read to the point where he suspected most readers were thinking “store credit”, he suggested that I should switch the dust jacket lest someone see me with this book in my possession. That was particularly funny, I thought, because someone in the gym had already asked me what I was reading, and prompted a short “churchy” conversation. By the time I’d finished my workout (4 chapters), I’d had 4 theological discussions.
The first was with an indeterminate, bible-belt evangelical church member; the second, a skeptic of all things religious, thought-provoking, or literary; the third, a Mormon who suggested a few books for my reading edification; and the fourth, a non-Calvinist Presbyterian who had read the book himself. This fourth conversation went on for quite a while and covered as much theology as McLaren covers in his book. Often, it would seem, you have to go to a gym to have a real, honest, transparent conversation about beliefs, theology, doctrine, lifestyle, questions, doubt, etc.
There are those who completely change when I happen within the same workout area they are occupying. There are others who seem to imagine that like them, when in church you are one person, but at the gym you’re another person. But then, there are those who are always who they are; and that consistency, to the others, is quite confounding and beyond comprehension.
I really enjoyed my conversation with this consistent, real, articulate, open-minded, deep-thinking Jesus follower, and we vowed to grab some coffee and talk again very soon. Then today, as I came into the gym, he was leaving and said, “I left you something on the shelf in the alcove of the locker room.” I know you’re thinking I’m going to switch McLaren’s dust jacket with my new John Piper’s Future Grace, but I’m not going to do it. I’m going to read them both with their dust jackets intact.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

bona-fide biker

I’ve been trying to post about Al’s motorbike riding for over a month now. Until the first week of August, she was only riding up and down the street in front of the house and occasionally, I’d ride with her around a 2 mile loop that begins and ends in our neighborhood. At the beginning of August, we trailered both bikes to Pennsylvania by her request so that she could ride in the country without having to go through traffic to get there.
On her first real ride, we headed south through the corn fields over the magic hill-hopping roads of South-central PA. In no time (half-mile) we were outside civilization and having a blast. We didn’t pass many cars but did meet the occasional horse and buggy. We rode 53 miles on her first real ride, and she was hooked. We rode again the next day and the next.
When we got home she wanted to ride to work, so I rode with her the long way to stay off the interstate, but I couldn’t come get her the next morning, so she rode from work to church by herself. Since then, I’m almost certain she has not driven the cage to work. She is a bona-fide biker. That is, as of last night. She took her first legitimate night ride. As you long-time cyberdeck readers know, I’m an avid night ride rider. When I head out under the night sky, I often lose the strength to turn the bike around. It will be ever so much harder with Allison riding with me.
Last night we rode off at about 9:20, just as the just-past-full moon was rising above the treetops. She even survived the interstate for 20 miles, but I asked her not to do it yet without me. So after only 500 miles to her credit, she is on I-state, averaging 94 miles to the gallon (no that was NOT a typo – 94 miles to the gallon), and showing up at work happy to be there. I can relate to this feeling. Yes. 94 miles to the gallon. That means she can leisurely ride around for an hour of fun for about 75 cents. She can ride to work and back 3 times on a gallon of gas. That’s 80 cents per round trip, as opposed to $3.76 in her truck.
Get yourself a motorcycle.

My own gas mileage is nearly exactly half of Al's (but my engine is exactly 4.25 times bigger than hers - so as far as I'm concerned, she should be getting 188 mpg.)


Thursday, September 07, 2006

support uncle zod

It seems that word is out and my constituency is showing support. My campaign advisor and marketing director, alerted me to this support ad this morning. I have to say thanks to those who have put their confidence in my ability to defeat General Zod in the upcoming election. I promise to do my best to do my duty (when it suits me), to live up to the high view you have expressed in this ad.

Of course, there are detractors as well, but I've elected not to show you their ads.


Monday, September 04, 2006

she's my friend


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Saturday, September 02, 2006

meet the candidate

I've decided that although brushboy's partnership offer was tempting, I will not impersonate General Zod. I desire a kinder, gentler nation than co-opting his campaign would allow for. I will be running on a moral platform (when it suits me), and so have realized that I will have to make sure that everyone knows who I am not. I will probably only be against things rather than describing what I am for, and I will describe myself simply as "not them."
So, as I throw my hat into the ring, here is a starter list of who I am not:

1. Embouchure Expert
2. founder of the Adelaide Theatre Guide
3. Katherine L. Vanderwerf's nephew
4. freelance voice-over artist
5. Amanda's dad
6. computer programmer
7. information systems manager
8. Fire Service Chaplain
9. fish photographer

Please do not confuse me with any of these impersonators seeking a quick 15 minutes of fame.
In fact, I'm inviting you, my constituency, to decide who I am.


Friday, September 01, 2006


Lately I’ve interacted with a blog that angers me and from which I should really keep my distance. It’s just that I ran across it back in January when End of the Spear was released and this blog (and many others like it) were spewing hatred and lies toward Steve Saint and Mart Green, and for that matter, doggonit, everyone else I respect, appreciate, imitate, and attempt to emulate. I first tried to comment when they were spreading lies about Steve Saint. This wasn’t even a matter of opinion, it was an outright lie, and I knew better. I was blocked from posting any comments. For some reason (I’m guessing that roadrunner changed my IP), eventually I got a comment on attempting to come to the defense of another Christian who was being slandered, and promptly was mocked, ridiculed and damned by all the other commenters.
It’s not really that I’m addicted to reading that blog, but that I’ve felt some kind of complex to be there and expose the fact that they are flat out lying about what other Christians are saying and teaching. Of course, my comments are nearly always corrected “quotes” or scripture references and are nearly always blocked.
The blog has grown an outrageously large readership (35,000 per week) seemingly as some kind of sideshow, and has grown increasingly outrageous in the past few weeks. It’s as if the contributors are running out of things to hate and mock and scoff at so they’re making things up and becoming more obviously exaggerated. I have no doubt that VERY soon, some contributor will make a comment on another’s post and incur wrath and in next to no time they will have eaten one another. Good riddance.
Tonight I made a level-headed, wise, intelligent, mannerly, kind, thoughtful observation that surprisingly, they posted. I was scoffed at for my ignorance by three separate comment posts, chastised by the original poster, and my IP was promptly banned so that I could make no response. I’m sorry, but that feels very much like having your hands cuffed behind your back and shoestrings tied together while someone sucker punches you and raises his fists before his cheering friends as if his strength and stamina had just defeated his bound opponent. But in all fairness, that IS the only way deceit can defeat the truth – by hiding it. But more surprising that a bully would do this, is that so many people would stand close by and cheer him and pat him on the back. I guess they feel empowered and victorious too.
Honestly – I believe I am speaking truthfully here – I rarely get angry. What I feel is sorrow, pain, compassion for someone hurting, someone broken or damaged. When someone shows so much evidence of misery, I hurt for them. But tonight, I confess, I was furious. I felt physical fury. My feelings weren’t hurt. I felt no compassion. I was mad as heck. I calmed down enough to come out to the kitchen where Will asked me what I’d been doing. I told him the whole story without the anger in my voice. He took over my anger for me, went to the website and composed a comment in defense of his Dad who couldn’t possibly ever be wrong (you mean, unChrist-like, bullies!) Thankfully, he had to post from the same IP and laughed when he also got the screen that informed him that he wasn’t allowed to post comments. We chuckled together.
Well, I didn’t mean to ramble out my anger so long there. Really that was supposed to be a short setup for the next bit.
When I got to the gym to pump out my venom, I plugged my iPod into my ears and learned that the latest installment of Gempfcast had found its way onto my hard drive so I was able to hear the rest of the first chapter of “Jesus Asked”, by Conrad Gempf. I’ve really enjoyed the three installments heretofore, and have commented on Gempf’s wonderful voice. But tonight it was set against a starkly contrasting backdrop. How glorious to hear someone speaking from his heart about Jesus and His teaching after so much hammer-handed hatefully misused quotes of Spurgeon, Tozer, MacArthur, and Calvin. How very different a teacher of the faith sounds compared to a defender of a doctrine.
As I was listening to Gempf speak from his heart about Jesus with that soothing, peaceful, fascination-soaked voice, I thought about what Jesus’ voice must have sounded like to the marginalized, ignored, demeaned, and abused cast-offs He loved so much. I thought of how healing and refreshing He must have been after the teaching of the Pharisees. A lifetime of beatings with a sledgehammer of law misappropriated selfishly and pridefully had left wounds that would seemingly never heal. But along comes a voice, the very Word of God, issued through smiling lips. Here is a soothing balm that, with a word, heals years of festering, open wounds. Grace. It’s a humble word that screams in the ears of the self-righteous. It’s a soft word that penetrates the penitent, and pummels the prideful. It’s a gift by which justice is withheld while the judge remains just.
I heard it and felt it tonight, the stark contrast in the sound of the tyranny of law juxtaposed with the freedom of grace.
Thank you Conrad, for your heart, your work, and your voice.