Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just Good

I once asked Don Robinson if there actually were any healthy churches out there.

So let me leave you with this:
- Sunday School began with a bang this morning. Excitement. Anticipation. Kids laughing and teachers energized. 14 kids in my confirmation group.
- 2 sons, recently returned from Iraq, in worship this morning.
- At this point of the year we're about $10,000 in the black for the year.
- An anonymous $1000 to our food outreach, who had just told me they were out of money and couldn't afford to hand out holiday baskets.
- Worship this morning was truly beautiful and sweet. Lots of participation, a wonderful spirit.
- Visitor flow remains strong.
- Our nominating committee is working on candidates for next year's board, and I am amazed at the quality of the people we get to choose from. God has the right people in the right places.
- People are praying. Ministries are growing. People are serving.

In other words, yes - there are healthy churches out there. And I am blessed beyond measure to be able to pastor one of them.

See you next week.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Too busy to blog

I'll be out of town most of next week, so that means 2 sermons to write this week. And an article for the church newsletter. And meetings all day yesterday. And contacts to make for our Nominating Committee. Lots to do, lots to do. Which means, no more here for the moment. And by "the moment" I don't mean months, or even weeks. Just nothing today except this note, telling you that there is nothing here today.

And to let you know that next week we are heading out for 5 days, finally celebrating our 10th anniversary.. As part of our trip we get an overnight train ride and a couple nights up in the mountains. And grandma and grandpa get the kids. It all seems to be working toward a wonderful week of relaxation and bliss. . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of the Good Guys

Ron was nearly 80 when I met him 10 years ago. He had a gentle spirit, and a calm heart. He wasn't given to frivolity, but there was a twinkle in his eye. He was a man who knew how to love.

I had been hired as the youth pastor, so my time and energy went toward the 12-18 year-olds. But, as the situation proved more stressful than I'd bargained for, as factions broke out in the church, as angry voices started crying out against the pastor and myself - right at that point, Ron became my true friend.

He took me out to Red Lobster for lunch. We talked. His frustration was evident. But, the thing is, he sided with the younger folks. He was upset at the way the seniors were attempting to maintain control, and in so doing, driving all the younger people away. Ron wanted to see this church thrive. And he saw that I was losing heart, so he decided to encourage me. He decided to be my friend.

Every time we met he'd ask me what I thought about it all. How we might turn things around. How we might save the church. How he could encourage me.

Once or twice he handed me $20 and told me to spend it on myself.

When I left that church, it hurt Ron. He understood why we left. He completely agreed that it was necessary, but it still hurt him. And, as time passed and I was further away from that church, I started to miss Ron. When I thought about that church, Ron was always one of the brightest memories. When times became tough again, I wished I had another Ron around, just to sit with and talk about stuff.

Last April, I was at the North Pacific Conference Annual Meeting, and who should be sitting at the table next to me but Ron and his wife Evelyn. It was a joyous reunion - the same smile on his face, the same kid-like glee in his eyes.

And in June, at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church, I saw Ron again. His health had caught up to him - he was having trouble breathing and walking. But we still had a good talk, and he was still the same old Ron. Doesn't it always feel good when you run into an old friend, and you can tell they are just happy to see you? That's what it was like. Ron was overjoyed to see Karina and me. I was encouraged just to be in his presence again.

Ron passed away yesterday, just short of his 89th birthday. I miss him already. Just the thought that he was out there could make me happy. Just the thought that I had a friend in Gresham who loved me encouraged me greatly. Whenever I would think of the hard times we went through at that church, I would always come back to Ron and say "But we got to know Ron, so it's all okay."

Ron was one of those men every church needs. He was a saint. He was real, he was honest, he was insightful, but, most of all, he was a friend when I needed one - and he went out of his way to pursue that friendship with me.

May the Lord carry his soul into eternal rest. May the Lord carry him gently to his side. And may the Lord fill our lives with many more Ron Fischers.
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Just as I was reading the email notifying me of Ron's death, this song by David Crowder started playing:

Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now,
be quiet, wait, for the voice that will say. . .

Come awake, from sleep, arise.
You were dead, become alive.
Wake up, wake up, open your eyes.
Climb from your grave into the light. . .
Bring us back to life.

You are not the only one
who feels like the only one.
Night soon will be lifted friend
just be quiet and wait for the voice that will say

Come awake, from sleep, arise
You were dead, become alive
Wake up, wake up, open your eyes
Climb from your grave into the light. . .

Arise! Shine! Wake up, wake up!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Various and Assundry Items

Seattle is about to get a new streetcar line, courtesy of Paul Allen, in the South Lake Union district. I'll be glad when it's finished, because all the construction makes it that much more difficult to get to Whole Foods.

The rumor is that it was originally going to be called the South Lake Union Trolley. Until someone finally figured out what that acronym would spell. So now it's the South Lake Union Streetcar. . .but people seem to find the original more humorous, so the locals are running with it. Just one of those Seattle things.
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Just after I joyfully linked to the Holy Observer (see below), Scot McKnight has to go and blog about satire. His quote: "A steady diet of satire is soul-destroying. . .You cannot possibly live by the Jesus Creed and turn your focus to satire. . ."

The thing is, he's probably right. But I'm not quite ready to give it up yet. Let me get back to you.
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In the meantime, I'm pondering a little blog post under the title "Is Fundamentalism a Sin?" I hope to get it out later this week.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ark of the Covenant Discovered on Craigslist!

Not really, but after a 2 1/2 year hiatus, the Holy Observer is up and running again. That makes me happy.

Warning: THO can be crass. It can be crude. And it's always freakin' hilarious.

Friday, September 14, 2007

How far I've come

I'm working at home today, both to watch a girl with the sniffles, and so I can have some peace and quiet to finish up Sunday's sermon.

It was lunch time. I became hungry. I went into the kitchen to make some lunch. I had flax seed chips with hummus, and a lamb and goat cheese quesadilla.

And to think it used to be peanut butter sandwiches or Del Taco. . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Do the Puyallup

Went to the fair last Monday.

Olivia enjoyed the skyride.


Clara REALLY enjoyed driving her first car.


I just enjoyed the hot scones with raspberry jam.

Book News

Yesterday I finished reading Tim Alan Gardner's Sacred Sex. Overall, I would say it's a good book and worth the read.

His premise is that the sexual act is a sacred act, for two reasons. First, because it was created by God way back In the Beginning, created for the purpose of unity - taking one man and one woman and creating One. On the marriage bed, the great mystery is played out wherein two souls intertwine to become one. The second reason sex is sacred is that it is ultimately the image of Christ and His Church - the image of ultimate, sacrificial love, the truest metaphor for the organic unity of Christ indwelling his bride.

Therefore, our culture's many views on sexuality - cheap sex, hooking up, obsession with body type, clothing, and body fat count, sex as advertising ploy, sex as thrill, sex as entertainment - all these are demeaning to all that sex is supposed to mean.

However, ultimately the book is not a critique on culture. Instead, it is a roadmap to rebuilding healthy sexuality in the one place it is meant to exist - in the lifelong marriage relationship of husband and wife.

What I like most - his emphasis on the Unifying aspect of sexuality. The ultimate question to be asked in any sexual activity comes down to this - is this striving toward unity between me and my spouse? Or is it all about me, my desires, my satisfaction?

Now, the truth is, this is one of those books where I read it and say "that's all pretty simple and obvious." But then I'm reminded that 24/7 we're bombarded by messages that seek to carry us in the opposite direction, and that millions of marriages out there are struggling to survive. And if a couple (or person) came to me looking for advice in this area, I would definitely recommend this book. It's worth the read, and more people ought to read it.

I only have two criticisms:

First, the theological work is a little paltry. It could have been a lot richer, a lot deeper, a lot fuller. Gardner isn't a theologian, but he still could have plumbed the depths of the Genesis and Ephesians passages to greater levels. Perhaps consulting a theologian or two would have rounded out the work.

Second, Gardner has the annoying habit of making a point and then repeating it four or five times, as if to fill up space or reinforce his original point through repetition. In other words, he'll make a point, and then say the same thing, only with different words, about three or four more times. What I mean is, he'll make a point, and then he'll rephrase the point but say pretty much the same thing. Sometimes people make points by repeating the same point over and over again, which ends up being so much space filler. Gardner tends to state his idea, and then he'll restate the same idea numerous times, only with different words, so that it seems he's saying a lot when really it's the same thing. Sometimes Gardner gets a little repetitive.

Got it?

But those are small shortcomings to what I believe would be a very helpful resource to a lot of struggling people out there.

Now I'm off in other directions. Sara Miles' A Radical Conversion comes next. It's the story of how a lesbian left-wing atheist journalist found Jesus. Ought to be interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hmm. I've been tagged.

Just when I thought I was free and clear, Kim had to go and tag me. I had nothing else to say today, so I guess this is it.

Rules of this tag:
1. Name the person with link who tagged you.
2. Complete the questionnaire without changing the questions.
3. Tag 6 or more people.

Q1. Are you happy/ satisfied with your blog, with its content and look?
Yes. Well, pretty much. I'm growing a little tired of the pale orange, though. May have to change that sometime.

Q2. Does your family know about your blog?
Yes. At least my wife, my parents, and my sister do.

Q3. Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing?
First of all, that question doesn't make sense. It's missing a word or two. But to the original question, no. I am not embarrassed about it. In fact, I link it off our church website and I hope more people show up to read it.

Q4. Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?
Most of the time. I learn a lot about other people because of their blogs, and their response to mine. Of course, a few have reacted negatively to this blog over the years, and have attacked me unfairly, so I wouldn't say my thoughts changed positively in those instances. But I would say I'm a better person for being in the blog-o-sphere.

Q5. Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?
Sometimes if I have the time I go out exploring, jumping from one blog to the next through their links.

Q6. What does visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog?
Again, what's with the grammar here? To answer the question literally, "Visitors Counter" means a little device people put into their blogs in order to track how many people are visiting their blogs. I use Google analytics to track the number of visitors I receive.

Q7. Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
Most of the ones I read I know already, so I don't have to imagine. As to the rest? I don't have that good of an imagination.

Q8. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging?
There can be a benefit to blogging. And some blogs are very beneficial. Mine helps people in our church know what I'm thinking, it keeps my parents informed about the lives of their grandkids. I've learned a lot about the world through other blogs. But many, say, the celebrity blogs, and the blogs of every kid between the ages of 12-19, and the blogs on myspace and facebook, and 99% of xanga are a complete waste of time.

Q9. Do you think that bloggers’ society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?
Yes, and yes.

Q10. Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it’s a normal thing?
No, and yes. Depending, of course, on the spirit in which it is given. Mean-spirited criticism annoys me. But helpful criticism is necessary and useful.

Q11. Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?
I fear nothing, and avoid nothing out of fear.

Q12. Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
No. Especially if you are talking about Chinese and North Korean bloggers. Am I saddened by it? Absolutely. Do I think it's wrong? Yes. But am I shocked? No.

Q13. Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?
No. I figure it will live on and cause one of my descendants to lose an election someday. "But isn't it true that your great-great grandfather once said in his blog that he thinks 99% of xanga is a waste of time? Scandalous!"

Q14. What do you like to hear? What’s the song you might like to put a link to, in your blog?
I like to hear the laughter of my children, the scream of an eagle overhead, the wind in the maple tree out my window, the song of God's people in worship, the saddenly-sweet twang of a steel guitar, the roar of the waterfall, and my wife saying "dinner's ready!" I would never link a song to my blog, because I'm annoyed when I go to other blogs and suddenly have their music overpowering whatever I might be enjoying at the moment.

So let's tag a couple people, just to see if they still even read this blog:
- Russ
- Cheryl
- Diana
- Brad
- Susan
- Chelsea



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Case Study in Communication; or, how I almost got beat up on Saturday

The scene: A sunny Saturday afternoon, with a mild offshore breeze. Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, Washington. A picnic lunch with my family and Leah, a friend and former youth group member from Turlock.

The Set-up: I was trying to teach Olivia how to fly a kite. The wind was perfect, but the lawns were full of people. We headed to the northern-most beach, which tends to have a smaller crowd; my fear being smashing somebody on the head should we crash the kite. We got the kite into the air, and, in order to keep away from two men on a log, I kept moving north as I let the kite line out. Soon I found myself standing about 15 feet away from a scruffy-looking man man sitting in the sand.

He: "You know, the wind is a lot better if you go over there" (pointing south).

Now, understand. This is where it all started. What he really meant was "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't fly your kite in front of me, as you are disrupting my view." But he used improper communication skills, employing a classic passive-aggressive approach.

Of course, I didn't catch that. I was truly intrigued by his statement, wondering if he knew something about kite flying and wind that I didn't.

So, me: "Really? What makes it better over there?"

And this is where things took off in a hurry. See, I asked the question in all innocence. But he, misreading me, heard "Shut up, I can fly my kite where I want to."

So this was his response: "It's better over there because you aren't flying your %#@#$# kite over people's heads!"

This catches me off guard, and I answer him: "Well, see, it's not over anybody's head. That's why I'm here - to keep it from flying over the heads of those guys over there."

At which point all hell breaks loose: "Shut the $%$%%$ up! You think you can come fly your #%#$#$ kite over here and ruin my day! I'm just trying to relax and you come here flying your (word that used to mean small bundle of sticks but now refers to homosexuals) kite over my head and ruin my day!"

Me, using my best conflict resolution skills: "Um, I'm sorry. Have I offended you?"

He: "Shut the #%#$ up! Shut the #$#@$# up! Get your $##$#$ kite and get out of my face!"

Now I'm slowly reeling the kite in, but that's going to take some time, so I'm stalling. And then I realize Olivia is right next to me. "Sir, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't talk like that in front of my daughter."

He, sarcastically: "Oh hello, my daughter." (back to me): "Just shut the #$#$ up! What makes you think you can fly your $%#$# kite over here?"

Me, now somewhat bemused by the whole situation: "Well, it is a public park, isn't it? It's a free park. I have the right to be here, just like you." Probably not the smartest thing to say.

He's now on his feet, coming slowly toward me. "Shut the $#$# up! Shut the #$#$# up! You and your #%#$# kite and your $%@# free park, thinking you can come ruin my day #@@##@! Shut the #$#$# up."

I look down the beach, about 50 yards away, and see Leah looking on,praying, which makes me glad. Oh, and Olivia has gone to join her.

One more thing you need to understand. The whole time, there's this calm conversation going on in my head, something along the lines of "this is odd. I wonder if he's going to attack me. I wonder how far I can push him? What should I do if he comes at me? Run? Dodge? Try to avoid him? I wonder how this is all going to work out?"

By this time he is ranting, calling me a #@#@# and a ^@##$, feigning sexual acts in my direction, insulting my kite, and the whole time, everybody within hearing distance is studiously ignoring the whole thing. And I finally say, "sir, I'm not going to speak with you anymore. I'm going to bring in my kite and leave."

"No! I'm leaving you #$#$# #$#$#! I'm getting my stuff and going away from you and your $#$#$# kite!"

He begins to walk away in a rage, then turns and heads back. "No," he shouts. "Come here! I want to show you something."

"Um, no. That's okay, I need to wind in my kite."

"No, you $@#@#@! Come here! I want to show you something."

But I'm smarter than that.

"No thanks. I'm going to stay here. I need to pull my kite in."

At which point he stormed off. Leah told me later that as he walked by them and headed down the trail, he was screaming and ranting and cussing the whole way.

And I stayed and flew the kite for another 3o minutes or so.

Now, one could wonder. Was he drunk? High? Demon-possessed? He looked like a homeless person. He was obviously an angry man, and I had the misfortune of stepping into his circle. I still wonder what I would have done had he actually come at me. But Leah told me she was ready - if he attacked, she was going to come to my rescue.

I still find it more amusing, than anything. And let this be a lesson to you all, showing how improper communication always leads to misunderstandings. And sometimes violence.

Bonus Case Study

So later that night, we were driving home, heading West on the 16 under the Burnham overpass. It was dark, but ahead of me I could see the taillights of a couple cars heading down the onramp to the freeway. It appeared they were racing. "A couple of teenagers out having a fun time," I assumed. I watched as the one in the rear attempted numerous times to jut around the front car and cut it off, only to have the front car swerve and speed up, maintaining his position.

They both took the 302 Exit toward Purdy, the same exit I was taking right behind them. As they reached the turning lane to go left across the Purdy Spit, the rear car made one more attempt to pass up the front car by going into oncoming traffic and passing on his left. Once more, the front car sped up and swerved over, thwarting the back car's attempts. "Foolish young men," I thought to myself.

We all came to a stop at the traffic light. The young man in the front car (turned out to be in his 20s) climbed out and walked to the car behind him, yelling at the driver through his window. I still assumed they knew each other. But then the 2nd driver stepped out of his car, and I could see that they were both very angry.

The man from the 2nd car shoved the 1st, pushing him to the ground.

"Call 911," I said

The man from the 1st car regained his footing, but by this time the 2nd man had retrieved a big stick from his car. He took a swing, smashing it into the 1st man's neck.

The phone wouldn't go through.

The 1st man, using some wisdom, got back into his car and drove quickly off. The 2nd man picked up his stick from the ground, jumped into his car, and tore off after the first. I gave them a little space, then followed along the highway.

Eventually we reached the police, and gave a report of what we had seen. And then we drove peacefully home.

Along the way, we found it an opportune time to speak with Olivia about anger, bullies, and why it's never a good thing to respond to a bully with violence or anger. I hate to think what would have happened if the 2nd guy had pulled out a gun. Especially since we were 10 feet away. So we shared with Olivia that, even if people are unfair or rude, it's best to remain calm and not respond, and to get away from them if possible.

She seemed to get it.

As for me, I just have to wonder. Was something in the air last Saturday?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Final

I'm excited about this Sunday. Jim and Liz Sedore, Covenant Missionaries heading over to Mongolia, are sharing in the service at Lakebay. They have a fun story, how they finished out careers here in the States and then decided to do something rather than just retire and play golf. And they're good people, too. So if you're in the area, stop by and hear what God is doing in Mongolia.

It's also the 3rd week in a row that I haven't had to prepare a sermon, which has been a refreshing break. With the extra time I've been preparing the next sermon series, which promises to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for that one. . .
+++++++++++++++

I've also spent the last week redesigning Lakebay's website. It's not finished, but it's better than it was. Before, I was using the website as both a place to welcome new people, and a place to keep our people informed of all that's going on. For now, I've gone with the single focus of letting new people know about our church - meaning I don't have to update news and calendar information all the time. Let me know what you think.
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Friday Random 10

I wish I understood this randomness better. How 5 weeks in a row I get no Derek Webb, and then he shows up twice in one week. Sometimes it doesn't seem so random. #1 is sort of an Irish Rock-slash-jig talking about the Party that is Heaven. #2 is one of my favorite John Denver songs, and one of the better ones he wrote in his last years. #9 is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. We played it at Azusa, and I can honestly say it's one of the most difficult trumpet pieces I've performed. And #10 is going to be sung at Lakebay in November.

  1. Party Goin’ On Upstairs – The Electrics
  2. For You – John Denver
  3. Wedding Dress – Derek Webb
  4. Vivaldi - The Seasons: Autumn: 1. Allegro – Itzhak Perlman
  5. Thumbelina – George Winston
  6. You Will By My Ain True Love – Alison Krauss and Sting
  7. Kindness – Chris Tomlin
  8. She Must and Shall Go Free – Derek Webb
  9. Rutter: Gloria for Chorus and Brass: Domine Deus
  10. When the Roll is Called Up Yonder – Mars Hill Music

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On belief

A number of years ago, I had a friend - an intelligent friend - who told me that the Russians had blown up the Space Shuttle. He had seen the evidence, smuggled out of Russia "at great risk" that proved that a laser had been shot from a satellite at the shuttle. But the government was covering it all up.

Once I took a group of high schoolers to the beach for the day. While we sat in the hot sun, one of the most intelligent girls in the group tried to convince me that the world was controlled by secret shadow organizations, such as the Illuminati. We thought we were a free country, but they controlled everything - elections, food prices, gas shortages. . .and we were all victims of a massive cover-up.

In college, I had a friend - a pretty smart kid - who told me that the Russians controlled our weather. They had giant machines over in Siberia that could affect clouds, causing hurricanes and droughts over here in the U.S. And he had seen the proof, smuggled out of Russia at great risk.

I once talked to a girl in a Dairy Queen who told me she had read a book that proved that Jesus hadn't actually been crucified - instead he went to India, got married, had a couple kids, and died peacefully in a monastery.

How is it that truly intelligent people can believe such bizarre things? Certainly, Christians can be guilty of this. I once had a colleague, a pastor, tell me that the NIV Bible was the product of a New Age conspiracy to undermine belief in God, and he had seen the proof! It was all a big cover-up. And who can forget the breathless excitement over Y2K eight years ago. All those Christians buying up water and foodstuffs, believing the apocalypse was at hand?

But it's true of the other side, as well. The internet is full of websites "proving" that George Dubya Bush orchestrated 9/11, going so far as to plant explosives inside the WTC. "We Blew Up the Buildings And Blamed It On Terrorists!" And the Oklahoma City bombing? That was the CIA.

Need I even mention all those who take the Da Vinci Code as historical fact?

The other day I had a conversation with what seems an intelligent person, who was trying to convince me that our Apollo astronauts discovered buildings on the moon, along with warnings that if we continued to go back to the moon, there would be dire consequences. If you look closely at pictures returned from the moon, you can see where they airbrushed the buildings out. It's all a big NASA cover-up! And it's all over the internet!

How is it, in the 21st Century, we're still given to tales of bogeymen and monsters in the night? This seems no different than our ancestors who believed in werewolves and witches. I just don't get how people can actually believe these things - people who are educated, well-read, able to think critically. And they still believe the kookiest things.

And, of course, the worst part is you can never reason with them. If you begin to disagree with them, then you are either "unenlightened" or part of the cover-up. You're a sheep, being led along in your blindness to "the truth."

My biggest concern, in the end, is the damage this does to our credibility as witnesses to the gospel. When Christians go off on tangents about New Age Conspiracies, Y2K, cover-ups of evidence of life on Mars (I saw that book in a Christian bookstore), we look foolish in the eyes of the world. Why should the world believe that we have The Truth, when we spend all our time breathlessly debating the government cover-ups over moon landings?

I just wish I could understand why people believe this tripe in the first place.

Now, if you want to talk about the conspiracy that stole Super Bowl XV from the Seahawks, then you might be on to something.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The difference of a couple years

Today, Wednesday, September 5, 2007, Olivia officially began 2nd grade. I was thinking of a couple years ago - her first day in kindergarten, and the year before that - the first day of preschool. Then it was all tears and sadness and "our baby's growing up"and emotional sentimental feelings.

Today it was "Whoopee! She's back in school! No more trying to entertain her for 8 hours a day!"

Not that we don't enjoy those long lazy days of summer. It's just that, well, all the "What should I do now?" game gets a little old.

And as for her, I think after a year of homeschooling, and spending the last month of summer basically hanging out with her mom and dad - I think Olivia is ready for a lot more hanging out with kids her own age.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Class of '87

About 33 years ago, a little group of kids gathered for Kindergarten at Watson Groen Christian School in Shoreline, Washington. 6 of us would stay together through elementary school, junior high, and high school, graduating together in 1987. If you've read this blog, you know some of us got together last month, for our 20th reunion. This picture represents a special moment - this is 4 of those six who stuck together all the way through 13 years of school, with our Kindergarten teacher, taken in the play yard of our school. That's me on the left, Kristen, Mrs. Roosendaal, Alicia, and Tania. I think Mrs. Roosendaal is kind of proud of how we all turned out, since everything we needed to know, we learned in Kindergarten.


















Here's a shot of more of the graduating class, sitting in one of our high school rooms. Added to the above four are Karen (behind Alicia, James (Behind Tania), Pam and Mariea (far right).

technical question

If you've tried to post here, you know I have that "word verification" thingy, to keep spammers off the blog. When you go to post something, you're given a bunch of mixed-up letters, and you have to re-enter them in the box before it lets you post.

So, every time I go to post, I put the letters in the box, exactly as written, but it comes back with an error message, instructing me to "Enter the letters as they are shown in the image." I do so, and then it works fine. It always rejects the first attempt and accepts the second. Any idea why this happens?

(see? It just happened again. . .)

Off the Blog Roll

Chris Erdman has decided to stop blogging. He's grown up and become a real author, having recently published Countdown to Sunday: A Daily Guide For Those Who Dare to Preach.

I'd love to buy it and read it; it would probably do me some good. But my "to-read" pile is still up there at around 30 books, and another Amazon shipment just went out, so I think I'll have to pass for now.

Chris was the speaker at my seminary graduation, and has since been hired on at the seminary. I respected his view on ministry and life. I'll miss his blog.