Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back from Honduras...

I've got stories to tell but no time today to tell them. But I'm back now, and I'm thinking I'll take 2-3 weeks and write 2-3 posts per week outlining stuff from the trip - it was that cool and there were that many stories to share and insights to gain - at least for me...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More evidence Macs will rule the world

For those of you who know me, you know I'm a Mac guy. I'm not a computer geek - I just don't quite have the aptitude - but I got turned on to a Mac when my boss forced me into an iMac way back in '02. I haven't looked back since. I tear up when I think I'm forced to type on a Dell in the office...

Anyway, I came to an epiphany years ago that is slowly coming to fruition - Macs will one day rule the world. How? 2 simple reasons: 1) They're getting the kids. Even 5 years ago, elementary schools were chalk full of Macs. Kids were becoming fluent with them and those same kids, when faced with a decision, won't be scared of a Mac like their parents, and will be wooed by the sleek and sexy design. And 2) When you look at TV & Movies you almost ONLY see Macs. If you never looked outside your window but only looked at the world through these mediums, you'd think everyone owned a Mac. At this point, in the US, their market share is only 6.6% - but that's up. It's now higher than Toshiba. And if you've not heard What IBM is doing with Macs then read about it, and recognize this is the first sign of the Apocalypse for Microsoft. Thankfully, Bill's already committed millions of his ill-gotten-gain to blessing the world. Maybe one day Steve Jobs will have made enough money to do the same...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I want to post...

I just feel a little tired and really busy planning and preparing for Honduras. So I'll try to add something valuable before I leave because I know there are so many people who hang on every word I post here...

Monday, April 14, 2008

T-Minus 5 days...

My list remains long but I now have less than 5 days until I'm on a plane headed for Honduras. I'm part of a team of 27 people doing a medical mission trip and providing some Christian education for children through an organization called Heart to Honduras and on top of that, we'll be visiting our new Sister Church near Peurto Cortes, in the community of Los Laureles. It's exciting and scary. Not having been to Honduras before, all of this will be new and leading something new on a trip with people who've been going for years is an added factor. I invite you to pray for Safety, Health, Peace and good communication. We will need all of that and trust that we'll receive it and return home with stories of the grace of God...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Finally!

Nice to get that first win out of the way - after 7 in the loss column. Spring is TRULY here...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Prayer

Everything we say is prayer - it's just a matter of whether we recognize we're speaking to God or not

I had a neat moment the other day, recognizing and then being reminded of the importance of prayer. Not as a formula and not as a method to achieve a desired result - but as a requirement for life, a requirement for health, a requirement for wholeness. And when I take that time to pray, to consciously devote my words to God, I'm always encouraged by what transpires. And I realize... if what we do to people is also what we're doing to God then it makes sense that whatever we say is also said to God - and therefore every word, whether it be a blessing or a curse, is also said to God. I think that should make a difference in both the way I speak to people - and hopefully in the way I recognize God's presence, daily...

Monday, April 07, 2008

the Bible, duh!

Ok, confession time. I'm facilitating (not leading, certainly not teaching) a class for Parents, based on Les & Leslie Parrot's book, The Parent you want to be at Liberty. The first week went well, 16 families represented - most I knew, a couple I didn't. We were a little rushed and I tended to spend a little more time in the "getting to know you" phase and some follow-up questions to the video we watched. We skimmed over the Bible study portion, we broke into groups and eventually some of us shared dinner together. In a follow-up conversation, I was encouraged to dig into the book a bit more. The workbook has good stuff. So... I did. I prepped with an eye to the key moments and edited as we went, with an eye toward one section, aptly called Grounding. It was the best part of the class - driving home the themes through Scripture.

I don't know if I was intimidated - "people are in different places in their faith, I'm not trying to ram anything down their throats" - or if I questioned a bit the applicability of the Bible study portion, whether it applied. Either way, I had inadvertently glossed over the Bible the first week (except for the wonderful descriptions in Song of Songs/Solomon - and encouraging couples to give it a read) - but not yesterday. And it stuck. And I think it stuck hard. And even if I hadn't gotten the immediate feedback from the rest of the class, it had stuck with me.

I came alive, personally, as I expounded on the Scriptures. I was engaged and excited. It hit me and I think it hit them. It was a good reminder, as John said in his sermon Sunday - "first things first".

If you're curious, it was Matthew 3:16-17, Jesus' baptism, that was the real clinching moment. Remember, at this point, Jesus had done nothing, no miracles, no sermons, no healings - and God's word to him? You are my son, I love you, I'm pleased with you. What would it look like for our children to know, without having done anything that they are loved and accepted...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

How Presbyterian AM I?

So, there's this PresbyMEME going around, my friend Rhett tagged me and I missed it the first time, but I'm ready to contribute.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?
2. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?
3. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?
4. If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be?
5. If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?

Now here are my answers:
1. What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?
Oddly enough, I'm going to go with the day I wrote my polity Ordination exam - roughly 19 months ago. The question dealt with re-baptizing. The answer I wrote did more to convince me that I was Presbyterian than virtually anything else I've read or experienced. When you pare it all down - our part is minor, God does something real no matter how good or horrible we are. We're not working our way to God.

2. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?
I'm tempted to talk about sexuality here, because the trendy answer has got to be sexuality, right? But if I say that, what I'm meaning to say is that we've got to stop talking about sexuality the way we've been talking about it. It seems to me that the church, PC(USA) included, has a poorly developed idea of what sexuality is. It's either a) for pro-creation and beyond that it's a dirty word or b) the greatest thing since sliced bread, the highest human endeavour and the surest way to experience the divine. Both are sad examples of unsophisticated and uncritical engagement with culture and the bible. But I'm also going to say ordination. We need to be talking less about who can be "ordained" - because last time I checked, ordination isn't really stressed in the bible... we're ALL called to serve.

3. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?
Well, I should follow up the previous answer with the same - sexuality. I think we need to start formulating a biblical understanding of sexuality that doesn't simply follow the puritan-monastic-abstinence tradition with unthinking loyalty because sex is dirty. And it needs to stand up in the face of our Western-hedonistic-arbitrary culture instead of being so concerned with "fitting in." Christ was out of touch with his culture just a bit, right? Counter-cultural if you will? But I've also got to offer two additional things. First, I'd say we need to be talking a whole lot more about STRUCTURAL CHANGE - institutional adjustments and being FAITHFUL to Christ in a changing culture where our Christendom mentality no longer fits. But most importantly, I really feel like we need to deal with 1 simple question, the first question of membership in the PC(USA) - "Who is your Lord and Saviour?" What does it mean? And the second question of membership follows closely - "Do you trust him?" Do we?

4. If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be?
I'm going to cheat - kinda. I'm going to put forth the Luke-Acts swing passage of Luke 24 and Acts 1:1-11. The resurrection, the road to Emmaus, the commissioning, the ascension. It's all there and we need that same encounter with the living Jesus.

5. If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?
Hmmm...I'm going with an African Wild Ass. It's an endangered species that most of the world has never heard of. Loss of habitat is a huge factor in its growing extinction. If we don't figure out where we belong - where we're being sent - and what to do in a new habitat, we might end up extinct. Also - we're a little stubborn too...

I'll tag a couple PC(USA) guys - Jeff Lee and Wes Barry

Anti technology rant


Microsoft sucks. I'm currently having problems with Outlook & Word - somehow they're not talking very well. I'm not sure if someone forgot to put the seat down or maybe the toilet paper was put on backwards - I dunno. But they're not on speaking terms and my computer can't figure out how to reply to an e-mail without crashing. Have I ever said how much I wish I had a Mac in the office? If this keeps up, I might start using carrier pigeons...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Making a Move

First, I have to admit, the image to the left is not mine - but it's not far off. Google Images is a spectacular resource. Anyway, I've never been one for PDA's - my dad bought me one for Christmas a few years back. I broke it traveling. I purchased a new one, and promptly lost it - or at least I've misplaced it. Those free day timers I got in High School? Found nice homes in the bottom of my locker. I always preferred large calendars - a month in advance. That's how I roll.

Then I got to Liberty and realized I needed to take notes in meetings and follow-up and I began using a notepad. It was too big. I moved to a smaller notepad - and began using 3. 1 for regular notes. 1 to keep track of visitation (mileage). 1 to track phone calls. The latter became tedious and I've dropped it. And then I was away - in Texas. A friend was using a very nice, very sleek, black notepad. I believe it was a Moleskine but I can't be sure. Whatever it was, I was impressed.

I remember first reading about the idea of one @ Adam Walker-Cleaveland's Blog - but it was just a novelty. Then, the other day I encountered it on my friend & former colleague, Rhett Smith's blog and I clicked on the referenced link... and I realized this could be my answer.

I've carried around a soft covered canvas "briefcase" for 9 months. It's cumbersome and usually ineffectual. With 1 moleskine, a calendar included (I bought a calendar "insert" and photocopied & taped it inside) - I can drop my ugly notepads and keep my large calendar in the office. I've got my current book list - 10 books long, and the beginning of my to-do list. I can take notes and follow-up easily. And it looks much nicer than my flip-up spiral notepad. The calendar won't get shredded like my PC(USA) Missions Calendar - and I'll have to get used to the SAT/SUN combined block, but I think it'll work. Here I am, trying to be a little more organized - and a bit more trendy. I'll let you know how successful this venture is...